I am a BE CSE from Mumbai University and I am interested in going to the US to do my MS in CS. I want to know if SCJP would enhance my application to grad school in anyway. Would it make my application stronger? If yes, how much weightage would be given to it?
The short answer: no. The long answer: here in the US, these are several of the major factors in grad school application (someone speak up if I miss any):
- The GRE exam. There is a general GRE, then there is a CS-specific additional exam (usually called the CS GRE). This is one of the biggest factors in grad school entrance. Virtually all graduate schools require it, and your score is vitally important. Just like cert exams, there is a wide range of study material geared specifically for the GRE.
- In combination with the GRE, your undergraduate study is the other biggest factor. If you scored well on your courses (in the US we say 'graduated with honors,' meaning your GPA was >= 3.5 out of 4.0), this will be a help with the more selective schools. Even a 3.0 GPA is a help. Usually they will need a copy of your undergraduate transcripts, so they will evaluate in part based on that. If your undergrad scores are good, and your GRE scores are good, you stand a good chance of being admitted to most schools.
- The application/interview with the school. You may have to submit an essay with your application as well. The interview (if the school does one) is very important. The interview/essay are the place to mention SCJP, but even then, I would say that it matters little in comparison with your undergrad GPA, the GRE exam(s), and any professional experience you have. But if you are short on experience, you might bring it into play.
The problem is, software development and APIs are not really the core of computer science (as you may know, since you hold an BE CSE). Schools will be more concerned with your skill in mathematics, algorithms, engineering, logic, etc, than they will be with your Java skill. The certification would carry minimal weight compared with other factors. I would say it's not worth it if that's the only reason you're getting it.
Here's the biggest thing about applying to a program: decide on a short list of schools you want to go to, call their admissions office, and speak with an admissions counselor. They will guide you through the application process. If you made high scores in your undergraduate and GRE, you may want to consider schools such as MIT, Stanford, and the like. However, they are very, very expensive, and if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, try one of the state-funded schools (University of Utah, for instance, is a well-reputed computer science school - one of the top 50 in the nation, if I'm not mistaken - but it's state-funded, so it is much cheaper).