Three cheers for certifications...
...and the people that love them.
Certifications and degrees are really only worth what the student put into them, no more and no less. They may occasionally appear to have economic value out of proportion to a certain individual's effort expended in obtaining them, but eventually the disparity becomes evident and the truth will out.
That said, I don't understand why all the fuss over someone earning a certification, teenager or not. The article did not allege that "any certified person is more qualified than all non-certified people" yet many posters went through the roof as if that had been the case.
I think there is a definite place for certifications. I consider them at the very least a bona fide declaration of interest in a subject, and use them to hint at the fact that I'm not a one-trick pony. Although my stock-in-trade is mainframe programming, I went on a certification binge a few years ago and racked up 5 CompTIAs (A+, Server+, Network+, i-Net+ and e-Biz+), a CIW Associate and 3 WebSpheres (Application Server 5.0, Portal Server 5.0 and WSAD Associate Developer) to complement my HP Mission Critical Developer mainframe title. I'm out about $1000 in books and exam fees for the CompTIAs and CIW Associate but spent no money on the WebSpheres: I got the travel expenses, bootcamps and exams for free by being in the right place at the right time. Except for the WebSpheres, I figured "Hey, I know most of this stuff" so collecting the certs was largely a pleasurable experience except for having to temporarily memorize IRQs, DMAs and detailed technical characteristics of early SCSI standards.
Although my CompTIAs and CIW Associate credentials are the most basic possible, they do show that I've had my hand in micros and web technology besides slinging C and COBOL for a living. If I crack a computer case at work and someone looks at me cross-eyed, I can cite my basic A+ and Server+ technical credentials ("It's alright, I'm a doctor..."). If Desktop Support is about to do something questionable to my PC, I'll begin a sentence with "I know I'm only an A+, but...". This usually gets a laugh because most of them are Microsoft Certified Professionals or higher.
Bottom line: credentials of various types document that I have skills in these other areas that don't appear in the recitation of work experience.
And that's not all: I'm planning on going on another tear and certifying in Linux, PHP and MySQL. No boot camps, just books, playing around with the technologies, sweating a few exams and then feeling good about passing.
And before taking any pot-shots, just ask yourself if you would feel comfortable in the office of a doctor with no diplomas on the wall.