I had my A+ and Network+ before I got my first IT job. They were instrumental in getting the job and getting me an additional $1/hr. It took awhile to get a job, but I'm finally there. Don't count on everyone getting all excited about certifications. However, there are a lot of places that do require them and make them a basis of hiring or advancement. But, experience is probably the much more persuasive hiring criteria, so you have to be satisfied to take the cheap jobs before you advance to the "big money".