I earned the Microsoft Certified Solution Developer for .NET certification last year. My resumé is mired in C++ and CORBA, and I wanted something that would indicate to potential employers that I could do something else. I missed out on the Java bandwagon, and couldn't compete with the junior Java developers with 3+ years experience who would work for $25/hour. So I thought being an MCSD might get me in early on .NET development.
The tests weren't the cakewalk that I had been led to believe by the detractors of Microsoft's certification program. I agree that the tests don't provide a good indication of whether a candidate would be a good developer, but they do indicate that the candidate has an encyclopedic knowledge of the .NET API and the features of Visual Studio .NET.
The architecture exam, usually considered to be the toughest of the MCSD exams, was the easiest one for me. It was the one exam where careful reading and common sense would get you through, rather than a lot of rote memorization.
Getting the MCSD didn't help me much in getting a job. I suspect it is actually considered a black mark by those who believe anyone taking Microsoft's tests must be a clueless, mindless drone.
I think that studying for the exams did help me to learn some things about .NET that I would not have learned otherwise. The exam guides gave me a plan for learning .NET, rather than just stumbling around randomly. So that is what is of most value to me: the learning, not the piece of paper.