A wise man once told me that the only general answer that suits all good questions, is the phrase "that depends." In the case of your good question, that depends on what kind of work you want to do. If you want to be a network or system administrator and will be competing against MCSEs or MCSAs for jobs, you may be at a disadvantage in selling your knowledge and experience against those with heavier-weight credentials. If you're aiming at different kind of work -- for example, as a developer -- you may not be at a disadvantage in that case.
Let typical job requirements for the kinds of positions to which you aspire, as stated in job postings online and classified ads in print, guide your certification decisions. If you're still in doubt after such research, you might try talking to a recruitment or placement firm that handles lots of IT professionals in your area.
Good luck in your future studies.
This was first published in February 2002