I just graduated from a fairly well-known liberal arts college in May. Interestingly, I majored in psychology, with a concentration in social psychology. In college I took Intro to Computer Science and hated it (used to blame it on myself; now I blame it on the professor :) However, I've always wanted to be a programmer, and finally got my wish by getting hired by a company that was willing to let me learn coding from scratch in exchange for low pay. Well, what do you know, I just got laid off this morning, and need a new job by November to pay the bills. I loved the coding part of my job at the company, and managed to learn enough Java to feel competent in the job and curious to learn more. I think my goal now is to become a professional programmer. I still know very little (never used Swing, for example) but nothing that a good book can't fix.
That's the background anyway; sorry for the rambling - I'm still in shock from the layoff :( It seems to me the quickest way to get noticed by companies, without a CS degree, is by getting certification. I'm halfway through studying for the SCJP and can probably sit for an exam in a week or two. Am I right in my assumption that certs will help in my case? And in general, do I have a bat's chance in hell of making it against formally trained programmers? My assets are really just raw intelligence and intense curiosity; well, maybe a love for problem-solving too.
Thanks all - feel free to edit/tag the post!