IMHO, the SCWCD exam proves that you have good understanding of basics of web application and Java EE. But the exam cannot compete with "solid work experience". There are many things that you learn when you work on it as a professional. So you can't rely on the certification to get you par with a handsome work experience...
for me - almost 0 value, but for head hunters/hr it documents you knowledge.
but be honest - having SCWCD/SCBCD/... profs nothing. you could have no real experience in JSP/servlets, spent 2-3 months on theoretical learning and you have your "paper".
Every point made in this thread is valid! For me, there are two things to demonstrate to an employer: (1) theoretical knowledge and memory, because you'll be a much faster (read "efficient" by HR) programmer if you know exactly what's out there and how to use it, without having to use reference material every minute of the day; (2) practical experience so you have already encountered some of the pitfalls and possible resolutions to problems, which builds design knowledge and ideas for future projects.
SCWCD certainly proves you know the theory required to build decent Web applications. To gain the practical experience, do lots of examples of your own, then (if you can't find employment or freelance work), try to contribute to other open source projects or similar to show you can follow the guidelines laid down by a lead programmer/coordinator, and can write well structured code. As an employer, I'd look at SCWCD and that would tick the theory box for me - I'd then be looking for some work experience or demonstrable coding examples in addition.
I've always been of the mentality that having a solid theoretical knowledge allows you to go further when doing practical work, but I know that's not a universally adopted viewpoint.
Charles Lyons (SCJP 1.4, April 2003; SCJP 5, Dec 2006; SCWCD 1.4b, April 2004)
Author of OCEJWCD Study Companion for Oracle Exam 1Z0-899 (ISBN 0955160340 / AmazonAmazon UK )
Technology changes fast. When developers learn a new technology it's very common to learn a small subset of the technology, just enough to get going, and then never have the time to learn how the technology is supposed to be used.
So, getting your SCWCD, or any other good cert., helps expose you to a more complete view of the technology. You might not master it all, but when you're on the job and confronted with a problem to solve, your certification experience will often lead you to say: "Oh yeah, I remember studying about the feature that's designed to handle this very issue - I'm going to go research using that feature".
In other words, it'll help you use the technology the way you're supposed to
Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
I've had the experience that Bert described with a number of technologies. I get to about chapter 2 or chapter 3 of the book and then I know enough to get what I want done (or to be dangerous) and so I just jump into it, Google the bits I'm missing and never know the technology well.
Not that that's a bad thing for many technologies, but when it's something core that you're likely to use for many years, I think it's better to know the full technology to some extent and the parts you use most to great depth. Otherwise, I find that I work against the technology for quite some time before finding out that it has just the feature that I was looking for.