Please go through it and let me know what you think :) Because personally I think if you have adequate knowledge then spending some bucks on getting a certification is not so costly ;)
I've been working on UNIX-based systems for over 15 years, including almost every flavor of UNIX under the sky. Never, in my career, have I meet a great UNIX person who was 'certified'. All the great system administrator and programmers have the same thing in common - a lot of reading and hands on experience on the job. There is no classroom experience that can substitute for crashing a live server for a major corporation at 3 am and having the responsibility to get it back on line before business opens or you are 'toast'.
I've worked in places where the system administator was in a training class for a week and while they were away, the backup tape for the major systems was full and ejected itself. They had a automatic email in place to warn, but they were in class Then, a consultant who was working on a difficult codeing project for a month lost her files. She went to look for the backup tape to restore the files and found the tape ejected !!!! She cried, really.
I've worked with a lot of folks over the years certified on routers, UNIX, MS, etc. I'm sorry to say that none of these people were 10 percent as competent than the people who had a passion for reading and building, hands on. Most certifications are just ways for vendors and suppliers to make money selling training papers.
Want to be great at UNIX? Get a version of UNIX (Linux, BSD, whatever), build a server from scratch and start building and writing C code. Get Rich Stevens books on system level programming and learn to program at the system level. Write your own server and client code, debug the code, work on interprocess communications, debug memory leaks, build shared libs, build static libs, fix corrupt file systems, etc.
Certification is not good for personal knowledge. It is useful when you are just starting to get your foot in the door of a company who requires certification, but you can bet your paycheck that the experts do not have these 'waste of time' pieces of paper. Do you think that Rich Stevens, who wrote the best books on UNIX is 'certified by a vendor?'
How about Linus Torvalds, inventor of Linux? No, they are great UNIX people because they did not take any vendor shortcuts. Patiences, practice, discipline are what builds the foundation for being great at anything, not quick certification classes.