The How’s, Why’s and What’s of Google Cloud Associate Certification
This is how a Google cloud certification will look like, and trust me you will feel all preparation and work was worth after seeing this certification on your screen.
Let’s get all our questions answered related to this certification in following sections.
P.S. In this article, I am limiting the discussions to ‘Associate Cloud Engineer’ certification. However, some sections may be applicable to all Google Cloud certifications.
1. Why ? — Make up your mind
The day you find your reason and are convinced on WHY you should get Google Cloud certified is the day you take your first step and have already covered half the journey.
My reason — For me, Google Cloud wasn’t an alien when I decided to give the certification. It was very much part of my day-to-day work. Therefore, appearing for the certification was the next natural step for me.
In case you’re absolutely not sure why should you be certified, you might like to have a look at what Google is saying -
2. Which ? — Choosing your certification
As next step, you should choose which certification is apt for you and then accordingly start your preparations.
Following recommendations from Google may help you decide.
Which Google Cloud certification is right for you ?
The expectation before attempting the Cloud Engineer certification is that you should ideally have 6+ months building on Google Cloud. However, I will not call that as dead end in case you don’t have prior experience. You can start whenever you are ready.
3. When ? — Plan your Exam date
With an end date in visibility, we humans work better :). Therefore, even before you start planning the preparation time, plan the exam date. .
Even though I had experience of working on Google Cloud, I still did not have knowledge of the entire expanse of the syllabus needed to clear the certification exam.
For me, the duration between deciding to appear for the certification exam and the actual exam date was 3 weeks.
4. Where ? — Choose your venue
Post Covid situations, attempting the exam remotely was added to exam location. Therefore, you can choose either of the following for your exam venue -
- Online-proctored exam from a remote location (Home)
- Onsite-proctored exam at a testing center
5. How ? —
I. Exam Details
- Duration : 2 hours (120 minutes)
- Registration Fee : $125 USD (please check for your respective countries)
- Exam Format : MCQ
- Number of questions : 50
- Passing : 70%
- Google will never tell your actual score in the exam result. It will just be Pass/Fail.
- Each question has different marks and weightage. However, Google will never disclose these details.
- Exam Delivery method : Online or remotely
- Exam validity : 2 years
II. Schedule your Exam
Once you are ready to enroll for the certification, please follow following steps -
- Go to the link from Kryterion Global Testing Center to register for your certification.
- For the first time, you need to create a user account from here.
- Once you have a user account, please proceed with the login
4. Click on ‘Register for An Exam’
5. From the list of exams, you can select your exam. In this case, we select ‘Google Cloud Certified Associate Cloud Engineer’
You may expand and click on ‘?’ to know more details on pre-requisites and exam retake criteria
7. Choose the ‘Buy Now’ button on right-side of your preferred venue
8. Select your preferred venue
a. For online proctored exam, it will take you to select your testing center from where you can select your preferred testing center. You may change the Country/State/City from the dropdown above to see the testing centers available.
b. For remote proctored exam, it will take you directly to the next step of selecting Date and Time of the exam
9. Select Date & Time
10. Read the instructions
Please read the instructions carefully to know about cancellations, reschedules, retakes, expected behavior at exam venue
11. Acknowledge and select
12. Payment for the exam
Once done, it will take you to the payment page where you can complete the payment.
13. Confirmation of purchase through email
You will receive a confirmation in you registered email account once you have completed the payment successfully.
14. Read instructions in the confirmation email on -
a. Prior to launching exam
b. How to launch exam
15. Reminder of exam
5 days prior to the exam, you will receive a reminder in your registered email
III. Know your Syllabus
Before you deep-dive into the preparations, please thoroughly go through the syllabus for the certification (as specified by Google).
Google Cloud is a vast expanse of knowledge like an ocean. We should be aware of our boundaries before deep diving into the waters, else we will be lost. Therefore, it is highly recommended to be aware of the syllabus mentioned by Google for this certification which will define what areas to cover. The topics mentioned here, are the topics you will see in your exam.
IV. Plan and Prepare
Sharing below the ways how I prepared -
I took combination of learning videos and hands-on. There is no better way to learn than actually doing it.
- Courses :
i. Learning Path for Cloud Engineer (as provided by Google) — Free
ii. Techgig’s Cloud Dev Jam — Free
Sign-up for free using your personal Gmail Id. It consists of series of videos and Qwiklab exercises for practice on the Google Cloud products. The trainers in the video are from Google or Google certified. This is where I picked up most of my understanding and found the contents very relevant.
Here you can select the track you need to prepare on based on the exam syllabus.
This site also contains leaderboards and prizes. So its indeed a very engaging way to learn instead of just watching videos and reading and gradually slipping into deep slumber :).
I was in top 10 once and got coupons as prize. There are goodies as well for top 3. So, go for it. Its as easy as just signing-up and there is nothing to loose. You’ll indeed return with knowledge on Google Cloud.
iii. Other Learning Sites- There are several effective free and paid courses available on following —
- Coursera — Preparing for Google Cloud Certification : Cloud Engineer. You may browse through courses using 7-days free trial
- Pluralsight — There were few topics where I needed more understanding and hence had referred to Pluralsight free courses for those. For e.g. kubernetes Engine Foundation
- Udemy — I did not refer Udemy for my preparations. But, if you find Udemy courses useful in clearing your concepts, then go for it !
iv. Google Cheat Sheet — Free
It is very important to know -
i. What are the Google Cloud products
ii. When to use them
iii. How to use them
Again, you need not go through the entire plethora of Cloud products offered by Google. Rather, please stick to the products specified in the syllabus.
v. Know the Google Products
You need to have a very clear understanding on when to apply which product to solve your problem. There are several flow charts available in Google documents and online courses (e.g. Coursera, Pluralsight, Udemy etc.) to determine which product needs to be chosen to solve a given problem. Some examples below -
There are also flow charts available in Google documents to determine which product needs to be chosen to solve a given problem
2. Hands-On Practice :
I will call hands-on practice as mandatory step in exam preparation.
I used Qwiklabs extensively for my preparations. The exercises were part of Techgig’s Cloud Dev Jam. This is where I got free access to Qwiklabs. Few coins were awarded on the way. Therefore, I accessed labs of Qwiklabs free of cost and they provided my ample opportunity to practice.
ii. Explore the Google Cloud Free Tier for free usage (up to monthly limits) of select products, including BigQuery and Compute Engine.
3. Best Practices :
During the exam, I came across several questions where I got confused between 2 options in the answer which seemed very close to each other.
In this case, I selected the option which was aligning to the best practices specified by Google.
It is not possible to remember all the best practices for all the products, but I will still insist to go through the best practices available in Google documents for Computing, Storage, Networking, Security and Identity.
i. Best Practices for enterprise organization
ii. Whizlabs Blog
4. Solutions :
Google Cloud certification judges your knowledge in Google Cloud products along with your problem solving capabilities. Therefore, most questions are scenario based. It would be great if you could read through few industry solutions offered by Google. These will give you an idea of how a suite of Google Cloud cloud products were leveraged to solve a real scenario.
5. Some Tips :
i. In case you’re unsure of the answer, you may use the elimination method where you can strike out the answers which you think are incorrect. That will leave you with most correct option
ii. If you are confused with 2 very close answers, select the one that aligns to the best practices.
iii. Expect questions involving multiple Google Cloud products
iv. Most queries will be scenario based. Therefore, please put on your problem solving hats.
v. Expect a questions on -
a. Cloud Storage types and/or its lifecycle
b. Kubernetes and DevOps
c. Compute Engine
f. Networking (VPC and/or VPN, load balancing)
g. Identity (what role to be selected based on responsibility, hierarchy)
h. Billing and administration
i. Monitoring & Logging
6. What ? — Expect on the Exam Date
Instructions are present in the exam confirmation email as well as reminder email. Please carefully go through them and follow the instructions.
Some last tips — Don’t forget these
Few small things to remember -
- Google will never tell you your score on the exam. It will be either a Pass or a Fail.
- Have a photo ID (as mentioned in exam instructions from Google) handy at the time of exam.
- Take the exam from a silent and decluttered place in your home
- If attempting the exam from exam center, travel very light so that you are not carrying lots of stuff with you which you don’t know where to put.
- In case the exam is disconnected in between, you will be provided with a contact to reach. After the issue is resolved, you need to go through verification process again (same as before starting the exam).
Thanks for being with me till here. Hope I was able to answer your queries regarding the exam. Please feel free to drop me any more questions here. I will be happy to answer.
All the Best for your exam !