Quick Background: CoBOL programmer from 1983 - 2001, Network Admin from 2000 - 2006, Tech Support 2007 - present.
A.S. in IT, B.S. in Information Security and Assurance, Numerous Classes in OOP (3 in Java) at Tech School(No Degree).
After getting the B.S. I found Information Security to be boring so while I figured out what next I took the Tech Support job. I did figure out what I wanted was to go back to programming. I took all the OOP classes at a local Tech School and have been trying to find a job but have had no luck(1 phone interview). Since I have no experience in "Real World" java but 18 years as a programmer I have been looking for entry level/jr level Java positions.
My question is Do you think that if I get my Oracle Certs that I would have an easier time finding a job? I have a chance to take Oracle classes and the cert tests later this Spring.
I'm not sure if I can advice on this (as a matter of fact, your experience is more than my age). But - have you thought of targeting architect-level job?
I'm asking this because I'm sure as a programmer, network admin and tech support person, you've seen a large variety of issues (and hence can think of much more issues during design phase itself).
Of course, if you like programming more than designing an architecture, then I think those certification would be helpful, but I honestly believe that at this stage in your career, designer/architect sort of profile would give more justice to your skills and experience (than a jr programmer profile).
It can't hurt to take the certs. If nothing else, you'll learn Java better.
It's going to be touch, but not impossible to find a Java job. I suggest looking at companies who might have hybrid roles. That way you can take advantage of having experience for part of the job and your newer Java skills for the rest. Some companies still even have COBOL conversion jobs. Understanding both sides of that is an asset.