I have had a career in IT for 17 years and don't have a single certification.
It's been offered. It's been offered for free. I've even had a couple (not many) employers / clients ask if I have them. Not one has cared that I don't. Many have actually liked that I don't, which I find really odd in the grand scheme of things. I've even refused, especially when their idea of a cert is basically nothing more than what I do every single working day of my life. It's almost insulting, and certainly a complete waste of their money.
What I've got is a degree in Maths with a small Computer Science element. And word-of-mouth that I can do just about anything, and will tell you if I can't, or if I would need to research it first. And 17 years of people you can ring up and ask about that. And the ability to learn REALLY fast, and not just by copying some online tutorial by rote but actual independent thought about the design, the interactions and unintended consequences and how the system should operate.
What I've discovered is that there are actually employers out there who have hired all the guys with certifications, big fancy titles like "consultant" (which is a word I avoided even when I was "consulted" by clients), and all the spiel and then found out that such people know how to fix certain things, usually selling their stuff at the same time, and then disappear off the face of the earth or make other things worse when they reach their boundaries.
I've actually specialised as a "fixer" for much of my career - where all those guys with certifications coming out of their backside messed up big-time, or stagnated once they hit the limit of their knowledge, and they want someone to come in and clean it up, put it back on track, say what they should be doing (my current place, they had NO virtualisation as the guy didn't even know what it was, no serious network management, no separation of tasks between servers, no storage management, no failover, etc.), get it ticking over nicely and not have to worry about the IT at all.
I've had everything from failed Linux system installs (trying to run their old things via Wine and Cygwin and pretend to be a Windows-like environment and never getting there), IT managers who don't take backups and also ignore RAID drive failures for months at a time, "servers" that are desktop PC's with no RAID, no UPS, no ECC RAM, and run EVERYTHING on the one machine (including Exchange and being a DC simultaneously - I didn't even know that was possible as it's a completely disallowed configuration), and trying to run hundreds of computers and IP phones over unmanaged switches with no VLAN or QoS. I even had one guy tell me "you can't have two DHCP servers!" and "You can't wire the network in a loop, it'll all come crashing down!". Er... Windows Server has supported DHCP failover for a decade, and have you never heard of STP? (By the way, wiring the network in the loop like that meant we could tolerate any cable being cut without affecting network operation, so there was more than a slight advantage to doing so, and it's worked for 3 years without a hiccup whereas before the network often partitioned itself into two halves - one working, one not working - whenever power blipped anywhere on site).
It's not that I was a know-all. It's not that at all, sometimes I walked into a place and was presented with something with which I had zero experience at all. But I had an instinct of what things SHOULD operate like, the ability to research the proper way to do them, and the capability to gets things from where they are to that ideal configuration.
The guys with certs, I'm usually incredibly disappointed with. There's a handful of people I've met in industry who have them and who feel the same about them, and they tend to be the better ones that understand where I come from. To them, the certs are a necessary evil and a waste of time, but the ones who show off their certs tend to not have much else to back them up.
I hired a technician on an apprenticeship scheme where they trained them for MS certs at the same time. Literally, the guy says the certs were a complete waste of time. He was in their classes where they were slowly introducing Server 2008 and "the one true way" (that they knew) of setting things up, and was able to pick up flaws, diagnose their problems, and spent most of their time logged into our system trialling Server 2016 for us doing things they never even tried to cover. They were literally just "follow a tutorial" merchants and had no concepts of simple networking concepts outside the scope of the questions (and, yes, they made them put ALL their services on one test machine and never bothered to explain why you might want to do it differently, and the test machine wasn't even a VM or hypervisor but a single physical machine). Hell, he tells me that their labs weren't even properly licensed and they just used to re-image the client machines every 30 days or so when the warnings started coming up. And their re-imaging wasn't even using anything like WDS or SCCM, but disk-cloning. Those were the people TEACHING, ASSESSING and AWARDING the industry-name certificates to others.
I regard certs as something you do when you are in a job, when they require you to be "professionally developing", so you get signed up to a certification which they are paying for. Much like a builder has to take a ladder course, or a chef a food safety course. Do the thing, tick the boxes, carry on with your job that you'd have even if you didn't have that certificate. People who independently pay for certs? I view them with suspicion. How have you managed to have the time and money to get a cert but not be working in IT for an employer who would send you on it? Why would you choose to do the lower certs when you've supposedly been a network manager for X years but never taken the harder ones? And any certs which even MENTIONS "what menu / command do you use to do X" I disregard (which is the vast majority of them). Those things flux with every update,and it's much more important to know WHAT you're looking for than memorise the exact path.
From talking to other IT Managers, it's a pretty common opinion. I have literally sat on interview panels and pointed out the candidates with certs but no experience (or no good reference) without even having to look down at the CV. Just a simple practical test (like a deliberately-misconfigured laptop or similar) highlights polar-opposite reasoning skills between those with certs and those able to actually get it working again. It's not that professionals don't have certs. It's that professionals don't need the certs, don't advertise or care about the certs, and they are secondary to their actual skills.
I had one guy, trying to interview candidates, who asked them "What command/menu would you use to find out the DNS servers in use on a Windows client?". He didn't accept the answer "ipconfig /all", denying it ever showed you the DNS servers, EVEN WHEN I demonstrated that, actually, it does. It wasn't a command HE used, (so you could say that it maybe wasn't the EASIEST way, but not that it was untrue) but it was quite clearly a command that worked and, in fact, showed more information than he needed too. He had certs. The candidates who had certs presented answers he liked. Nobody cared about the truth of any different answer.
And I've been in at least two job interviews myself where the words "Do you have any certifications?", "Oh no, just X years experience and lots of bosses who will tell you I can pick up anything, and learn fast", "Oh, thank God. The last few guys we've hired who have them up to the hilt have been awful and so stuck in their ways". I'm not even exaggerating.
I've yet to work in a place where the CPD for myself has been anything other than "What the hell could we send you on that would be useful to us both?"
I have no certs. It's not a hindrance. In fact, it's like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your company only hires people who have certs because you don't know how to hire IT guys or assess their skills, and don't care about experience, recommendations and abilities beyond a recent bit of paper from Microsoft or Cisco? Yeah, I don't want to work for you anyway.