I graduated this year with a BSc in Computer Science and Economics, and a math minor from a top 20 computer science university (18th to the be exact) with a 3.75 overall GPA. Most of my education has been in Java. I had a couple of internships in software testing but am now looking for software developing (.NET or Java). I am returning to India to look for jobs mostly in Bangalore/Bombay and other southern cities.
What are the job prospects like for someone with my background? I have read Kathy's and Bert's book for SCJP and SCBCD but haven't given the exams. Haven't had any experience with J2EE either apart from reading a couple of books. Would it be worthwhile to do the certifications? I found that reading the books was helpful for interviews and has made me a little more knowledgeable. However, since I now know the material I don't feel being certified will make me a better or more efficient programmer; just a better test taker.
Based on the competition in India does anyone feel it would be an edge to have the certifications? Also, are entry-level applicants typically asked to show course work or produce a project that they worked on?
Since I have a double major in Economics I am interested in working in the financial/banking industry. What are the programming/technical prospects in these areas?
Addressing any of my concerns would be much appreciated.