|Update: ... bah
Business works via competition, and at the higher levels the better programmers are the ones that get hired. It is free market principles applied to hiring - in other words, competition implicitly decides who gets the jobs, not some silly shingle of paper. Even out of college, how often after that first job does it even matter what your undergraduate degree was in? Isn't that the ultimate, most expensive "certification" there is?
The only place I can see someone needing a certificate is for entry level positions when someone doesn't have a portfolio or real experience. Also, good programmers need not be experts in the language they are going to be using. A good programmer can use any language equally well, and learning the particular semantics and idiosyncrasies of a language poses minimal headache if they already know how to effectively program.
My point is that certifications are good for greenies trying to get their foot in the door, but what makes one get recognized as a good coder are the talents he nurtures and hones on his own.
Certifications are good for one thing for sure - they make whomever is issuing the certs lots of easy money, because where there is a demand (even an artificial one)... :)
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