If you read some of the past questions, you'll see that I don't put much weight in certifications. There's nothing wrong with studying to learn about the technologies and how to get started with them. However, the certification scheme has become such a "ticket punch" that they don't really indicate skill levels at all. What I'd recommend is that developers write an application using the technology they're interested in. The best advice I can give is to contact a non-profit organization that needs some applications developed and to take one of them on. The important thing here is to finish it! As a hiring manager, I'd take that person in a heartbeat before I'd take someone with a certification.
This was first published in August 2003