I think the experience is more important than a certificate. You can attend some open-source project ,or some others project will accept a fresh man ,and get some experience from it. I get my first jobe by my game demo after I attended a project.
It all depends on the competition for the position. I don't think that a certification alone will open doors for you, but it might help you stand out among candidates of equal quality as another little plus in your favor.
Theodore Jonathan Casser
SCJP/SCSNI/SCBCD/SCWCD/SCDJWS/SCMAD/SCEA/MCTS/MCPD... and so many more letters than you can shake a stick at!
Certification may help you increase your confidence and get an interview but you need to have some hands on experience and good knowledge or familiarity with the core concepts/emerging technologies to open doors for you. Certification is academic.
I would suggest you to concentrate on the APti and SoftKills stuffs and just small project in Java with knowledge in the same is enough to get the Job. Certification will take some time to prepare...and also it is valuable only if you do so..not just to get the job.
If you are preparing for job interviews then I don't think certification will help you in any way other than clearing the first round of technical interview where you are given a number of multiple choice questions to be completed in certain time. My suggestion to you is to focus more on subject matter. Certification is purely academic and it is no way comparable to real time job experience. You can get yourself certified once you have landed in your dream job.
I really do not think that certification would help you in fetching a job (assuming you are in India), though you might be more confident while facing questions in interview.
If some company hires a fresh graduate or a fresh post graduate then it doesn't expect java , rather they ask something very generic like datastructures , some simple algorithms ,they will check your analytical and communication skills and lots of questions from project that you have done at your university.
I would not discourage to give this exam , its good to have anyways.
[ July 27, 2007: Message edited by: Rahul Bhattacharjee ]