Welcome to javaranch. How helpful the certificate is really depends on the employer. The SCJP strengthens your fundamentals. If you manage to pass it, your chances of passing the interview are probably higher
I think any certification gives third party evaluation of capabilities of that person in respective area. That certainly gives some psychological impact when the interviewer has judged the person average or above average, or for that sake for HR people to short list the profiles. it also boosts the individual's confidence level high which is according to me a major advantage.
But in any case I think basic fundamentals are very important which comes to your help in cracking the interview. I have seen such cases who were certified but because of lack of core concepts, they could not clear the interviews/discussions resulting in high amount of frustration. So in short, certification is preferred to certain extent but it can not ensure you a job.
love your job and not your company;
...because you never know when your company will stop loving you!
I believe certification is definitely a plus, provided you pass it to increase the level of your knowledge. I say it because there are people who find out ways to just pass it without study...in that case it is no way going to help you/any who does that.
Though you/I earn the certification, the knowledge will be evaluated in the interview..you/I will definitely stand good if the preparation is done properly and passed the exam. Then it will prove to be plus.