If you suddenly had chest pains, you wouldn’t trust anybody to walk in from the street and fix your heart – you’d want the most sophisticated experts you could find. The same holds true for today’s ever-growing complex networks and data centers. If you were having networking issues, you’d want the best in the IT profession to be up to the task of ensuring business continuity and operational efficiencies. With the convergence of technologies such as unified computing and virtualization and the addition of advanced services such as video collaboration and VoIP, to name just a few, today’s IT networking environment is becoming every day more complex.Just as doctors continually refresh their education and training by learning the latest techniques of their trades, it’s critical that networking engineers and IT professionals up-level their skills to validate their expertise and to assure their employers that they know how to design, deploy and manage the next generation of emerging data centers and networks. To help IT professionals evolve their skills to meet the changing roles and responsibilities, I’m pleased to announce that Cisco is introducing two new certifications: Data Center Unified Computing Design Specialist and Data Center Unified Computing Support Specialist.These advanced certifications are critical with the dramatic shift to the data center. Drivers include:o The need for bigger, faster, more operationally efficient data centerso Constantly evolving compliance mandates such as SOX, HIPAA, and DOD 511-12o Ongoing Internet growth (e.g. larger capacity switches keeping track of business applications)o Rising costs of data center operations (requiring more space, more power to cool equipment)At the heart of these certifications is the need to empower technical professionals to continue to evolve their skill sets to meet the challenges of a new world. At Cisco, we’re committed to sharing our knowledge to make individuals experts at what they do. I urge you to continue to invest in your education and try new things. These efforts will help you to remain relevant and competitive the job market and, best of all, able to choose your future career goals. More info on Cisco certifications here.