For as long as I have been working in IT industry, there were two types of people – those who knew how to do the job and those who had proper certificates. At one of the jobs I held there was this Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer guy, who passed all exams. I remember that someone on our team was teaching him how to troubleshoot a networked printer in real life. I taught him how to hook hard drive to the cable to the motherboard and how to install drivers for network cards. Someone else explained how to set up Novell network on Windows NT workstation. We had fun.
This was awhile ago and since then employers have learned to distinguish certified knowledge and real-world knowledge. Recently, I spoke with a friend of mine, software developer and team leader. He stated that they do take into account if the candidate has Microsoft Certification (they are all-around Microsoft shop), and what kind of certification it is. It matters to them because most of those candidates are self-learners and having certification assures that they at least know the basics of technology. It saves time on the interview since candidates are being asked complicated, full-blown interview questions, not wasting time defining what “abstract class” is and how to build an inner join select in SQL.
I guess there is some progress to the IT management as well, not just technology itself.