Microsoft tests are not worth much on paper, most employers are looking for experience in excess of 2 years on microsoft products.
Novell, well depends, if you can find a company that is migrating from MS to Novell, good luck. Also the market is flooded with microsoft certed people
Cisco Certifications, right now are the way to go, demand and better pay than any microsoft cert. CCNA/CCNP/CCIE
Also Oracle is in high demand too.
Web design was in demand, but with the fall of so many dot.com's they are flooding the market.
I plan on getting Novell, Microsoft and Cisco...I'm taking them all. I know that experience is where it counts, but if a job is between someone who is certified and someone who isn't...well, the certified guy is going to get it. (experience aside)
I would not be so confident about getting a job if you have certs compared to someone that does not... even experience aside. Yes certs are an excellent thing to have... however I have interviewed TONS of guys for help desk positions here at my company that are MCSE certified.... and they dont know **** about real life problems.
Im a network administrator that doesnt have a single certification to my name. I started off on a help desk for the company? How did I get that job? Well... you just have to show that pretty much computers are your life. From there I started to learn more of the network side... then i made a jump to a junior network admin... then a jump to supporting an 80 person office on my own... then a jump to network admin for a 500 user company. I personally like guys that have little mini networks at home, can rip apart PCs and put them back together. For you newbs out there that are looking for your first job.... definitely do this if you havent already. Show that computers are your life. Employers like that.
Also one thing that is OVERLOOKED bigtime... is software support. The last time a help desk position was open here, I needed a software guy pretty bad. If you can learn the Microsoft Office apps in and out... (mainly Word and Powerpoint)... I think that will be more of an asset to a company than having MCSE certs.... at least for a help desk position. There arent many software guys on the market. How many people on this board can honestly say they know Microsoft Word in and out... as well as Powerpoint. Im sure not many... i know i can't say that.
Thats like getting a car engineering certification... to be a salesman. :O)
I may look to get Cisco certified. Whoever said those certs are hot right now is very true. Not many people have them. I know enough about Novell and Microsoft NT... getting certified will not really help me.
My Cisco knowledge is light. Thats something I can definitely use.
When I went to college last month for Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Access, I knew more than the teacher did (not hard to do, but still an accomplishment). When I got my grade back it was an enthusiastic A+, with questions on how I did the things I did...LoL
I could probably run Office programs in my sleep...damn I'm good...
Paper certs aren't worth the paper they are printed on!! However it doesn't take long to figure out if an applicant has more than just a paper cert. A lot of us old timers scoffed at the certification process, but I have come to believe that even though a certification itself doesn't mean much, the effort required to gain the certification does. I finally broke down and became NT certified and had to turn around and get the 2K cert. It is hard work and can be an indicator of an applicant's work habits.
By the by..I agree..experience is the most important factor...and just networking experience isn't enough. One must be fluent in the applications being used..ie..Office 2000, Cognos suites, Oracle etc. or whatever is being used at your company! Just IMHO!!