SCJP is not optional for a full time position as a Java progammer. The cost is low, the time to take the test minimal, and a passing knowlege is required to do your job effectively anyway.
Those who claim it has no value to them personally may be correct and I can respect that, however, they fail to see the value to those hiring who do not have to waste time grilling you on the basics. It's mostly for employers, not a training vehicle for programmers.
Now, if you recently took the test and did not take the 5.0 test I would be concerned. What is it about Java 5.0 that you don't think you can pass a test on? If you pass 5.0 you get a free pass on all prior versions, so it makes no sense to punt on 5.0 certification.
I just bought a test for SCJP Java 5 [shudder]. I have some old Java programming and a recent SL-275 under my belt. I talked to the instructor and one of the 1.4 test writers after class and they said the Java 5 test was a killer. Trying to enhance the value of Java 5 cert in the industry.
My question was, Is the industry aware of this? I think the answer was, "eventually". I consider their pessimism helpful though. I'm cramming my brains out
I don't agree that "SCJP is not optional for a full time position as a Java programmer." I would venture to guess that most professional Java programmers are not certified. Most of the Java programmers I know personally are not certified.
Sure, there are some employers that favor certified candidates. Every once in a while I'll even see a job ad that asks for certification. But many employers don't place any value on certification at all.
Getting a SCJP cert is a noble endeavor, but it certainly is optional.