Avi, its not that we are saying that you are not sincere in what you say
(even though the language you use makes my skin crawl) or that you dont
help motivated people get to grips with programming. The issue for us is
that few, if any, employers will be swayed by a candidate that went on a
course. Rails, much like Perl and PHP in this respect, is something that a
programmer will have taught themselves because they were interested in it
(rather than a mandatory module on their degree) and so the culture around
it is of the self motivated, self taught programmer. Most of the people
here perhaps, like myself, read the DrDobbs article on Ruby and started
leaning Ruby or saw an article on a website that interested them enough to
see what was in it.

Waving certificates around like it means something is the province on 9 to
5 Java programmers who took up programming because they heard you could
earn lots of money working for banks. If they had the chops they would have
taken up accounting or law but they are either not smart enough or too
lazy. These people collect certificates like talismans in lue of actual
practical experience. You might not remember how it was with people
becoming Microsoft Certified 'this and that' but not having the faintest
idea as to how computers actually worked, thank god those days seem to have
passed.

If a CV landed on my desk with nothing more that "I paid $10k for a course
and got a certificate" on it my first and last thought will be "you are a
fool and I dont want anything to do with you"

We have actually interviewed someone who taught themselves Rails and was
building a Facebook clone with the code on github, Turns out that the crap
code was his and the good bits were from his collaborator, but he did at
least get as far as having an interview.

Maybe I'm just old but I expect programmers to be self motivated and teach
themselves things that they need or are interested in. I expect them to
have tried to do something completely impractical and beyond their grasp
for no better reason than it seemed like a good idea at the time. I expect
them to have random fields of expertise because then just happened to get
deeply interested in something they stumbled upon at some point. I expect
them to have skills that are completely at odds with their jobs (a web
developer who is also an expert in FPGA programming).

Certificates are the opposite of this ethos.