Exactly. I see it an awful lot in the defense market (Colorado Springs is heavy DoD), and when so many of the jobs are insta-hire if you have the Security+ and a security clearance (don't get me started on this particular topic), I feel it cheapens what the Security+ (and any other cert) represents. And when colleges use that as a selling point, the students you get are, well, sub-prime.You are preaching to the choir about how bootcamps are marketed. I've been saying the same thing for 20+ years. Account Executives and Salespeople would sell the bootcamp classes to anyone, regardless of their previous experience. And in far too many cases, they would sell to people who didn't come close to meeting any of the prerequisites. I'd have students in Security+ who didn't understand basic hardware/software/networking concepts. I would constantly remind them that the correct path for new learners would be to get the foundational knowledge first, either through work experience or fundamentals training or both, before attempting some of the higher level courses. I had a new learner sign up for CySA+ and they dropped out after the first day because they were in over their head.
I agree that training companies carry a lot of the blame. They market these courses as a fast way to a new career with an increase in pay. People are led to believe that a few one-week courses and certifications will lead to the big bucks. They test prep and cram their way to a paper cert without learning anything useful.
The hiring managers shoulder some of the blame as well. Go to any job search site and type the name of any popular certification in the search bar and you'll find hundreds of jobs. Some hiring manager wants to make sure candidates check every box, whether the candidates know the information and can apply it or not. Too many skilled and experienced candidates are passed over because they never bothered to take a test.
I primarily taught adult learners. Generally speaking, they were either sent to training by their employers to pick up new skills to apply at work or they were career changers looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I always made sure my students knew more than a list of acronyms and definitions. I made sure they could understand the concepts and could apply the knowledge to a real world scenario.
As a whole, we need to do a better job of assessing a learner's current skill level before recommending a path for them. I wish more people would take ITF+ before A+ if that's what they need. Or take A+ and Net+ before taking Sec+, Cloud+, or Server+. Without a strong foundation, they're missing a lot of crucial information that helps give context.
And then there's Marketing...God bless them. Many times, they will float the credential to sell - bootcamp, job, skill... and I get eyestrain from eye rolling so much.