I’ve held down various technical jobs for the last decade and the only certification to my name is a GED from Missouri. I’m 26, I’ve been working in technology since I was 16, and I got my GED at 21. That means I spent half my career working without so much as a high-school diploma. I’m completely self-taught, and I’ve gotten to where I am today through my own knowledge.
That said, my thoughts are pretty concrete: college degrees are completely useless if you’re not going into a field that requires some level of timeless knowledge: ie - engineering, C++ programming and pirating. Those have all pretty much remained the same since they were formed from the original primordial ooze.
Certifications are mostly useless. Technology changes too quickly for any one technology to really reign supreme long enough to need to be certified. If anything, I think certifications on understanding of principles would be far more useful. Who would you rather hire:
Guy A, who has a certification for Networking Using Specific Company’s Products
Guy B, who has a certification for Network Operations, Management and Administration, Those Principles That Are Key to ALL Networks.
I may be biased, because its my opinion, but I’d rather hire guy B. Yeah, he may have to take some time to learn my particular network, but what happens if I hire guy A and what I have isn’t what he knows, and isn’t close enough to quickly compensate? I’m taking a chance that he’s bright enough to segue into my system without completely taking me down and out.
Certifications merely prove that you know one specialized thing. Being able to prove you know a lot of specialized things really isn’t the same as being able to prove you grok the underlying concept and can then learn any implementation.