I cleared my first Google Cloud Certification Exam in June 2017, which was for their Professional Architect Track. Since then many new features have been announced and another Certification, Associate Cloud Engineer has been introduced. Recently, I cleared the exam for Associate Cloud Engineer Certification and I am sharing my experiences for the same in this blog article.
One major difference between the Associate Cloud Engineer and Professional Cloud Architect is that Architect Certification Exam expects you to know the best practices and theory around high availability, application deployment, managing security, resiliency, etc. whereas, the Cloud Engineer Certification Exam expects you to have hands-on experience working on certain GCP services. So, a lot of practical implementation level details are required for most of the core infrastructure services. You are also expected to have a very thorough experience in using the command line utilities like gcloud, gsutil and kubectl. Although this exam does not discuss a lot about data services e.g. PubSub, BigQuery or DataFlow, etc. it is still recommended to at least be aware of what each of these services is used for.
Let’s quickly look at what to expect in the exam:
- The exam consists of 50 Questions
- All questions are multiple choice (single answer) type
- You have 120 minutes to complete the exam, which is more than enough
- The passing score for the exam is confidential and might change over time
- You only get Pass or Fail status after completing the exam and not the detailed score or percentage
- The certificate is valid for 2 years from the date of getting certified
- At the time of writing this blog article, the cost for Associate Cloud Engineer Certification Exam is $125
- The exam is conducted at Kryterion Test Centres
How to prepare:
Like I mentioned above, the Associate Cloud Engineer Exam requires a good amount of hands-on practice to be familiar with many implementation level details. Here are some tips to prepare for the exam.
1. Command Line:
Work a lot with gcloud command line utility. You should be able to use it with multiple services like Compute, IAM, App Engine, etc. to an extent that you remember basic command patterns. The exam might ask you to choose from a set of answers that’ll require you to know the right syntax for gcloud CLI.
Also, use the gcloud to handle multiple projects by managing different gcloud configurations.
Be ready for a lot of IAM related questions. You should have an in-depth knowledge of how to use IAM Users, Roles and Service Accounts. It’ll also help, if you can practically grant access to certain users/resources using service accounts within the same project and across projects. You should also be able to check the audit trail either by logs or activity history.
GCE VMs are definitely one of the core infrastructure components that you should read about. You should be aware of scaling activities, authentication types, using keys and metadata.
Kubernetes also has its definite place in the exam. Be ready to handle some Kubernetes questions. Even if you have Kubernetes experience outside the context of GCP, it’ll be quite helpful.
The third type of Compute service that the exam asks about is Google App Engine. Ensure that you know how to handle multiple services and versions of the application in GAE.
Although the exam was not very heavy on networking concepts, but a basic understanding of how VPCs, Firewalls and some other networking components work helps a lot. Also, read about using multiple VPCs together in GCP or with your on-premise network.
In the end, I would say that the exam was a good test of my GCP knowledge.
If you are planning to prepare for this exam or other GCP Certifications, please check out our Google Cloud Platform (GCP) courses on https://cloudthat.in
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