As complex technology ecosystems grow, companies who want to buy in will often need outside expertise to launch their projects. But, since it’s not always easy to know which “experts” are really up to the task, certifications can be helpful. The most obvious source for reliable certifications would be the technology host itself. Amazon’s AWS certifications program is an obvious example.

But what if the ecosystem you want to adopt isn’t Amazon’s. Just suppose it’s the Google Cloud Platform: does a native Google certification covering their cloud services exist?

Well…it did. And then it didn’t. And now it’s back again. Sort of.

Google certification: the beginning

The whole process actually feels a bit mysterious. As near as I can tell from my research using…um…Google, somewhere around 2010, the original Google certification program – the Google Qualified Developer Program – was launched. To earn the designation, a developer had to satisfy four requirements:

  • Demonstrate that you’ve produced real applications.
  • Demonstrate your active engagement with the Google developer community.
  • Provide references proving that you’re comfortable using Google APIs.
  • Pass a fifty question exam.

The Google certification was built around five developer areas, all very much API oriented:

  • Gadget Ads
  • JavaScript Maps API
  • Keyhole Markup Language (KML)
  • Geo 3D
  • Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax) Search API

Perhaps most interesting, achieving this Google certification would earn you a reference in the “Google Developer Directory” which was, presumably, meant to be a great way for project managers to connect with qualified cloud developers.

Google certification: the end

But the program didn’t seem to survive very long at all. Within a short time, the Google Qualified Developer Program simply disappeared off the face of the earth, it’s web pages replaced with this message:

The Google Qualified Developer Program has been retired. Please see Google Developer Experts to find developers with Google platform expertise.

What went wrong? Perhaps it just didn’t attract enough attention. Or perhaps it attracted too much attention and the task of verifying developer credentials and background became too heavy to handle. I haven’t a clue. In any case, the Google Developer Experts program that replaced the Developer Directory is now mostly an internal referral service:

You can join us by being referred to the program by a Google employee or partners authorized by the Google Developers team and have to fulfill the qualifying criteria listed below. If you are interested in joining us, make sure you reach out to your local Google contact and/or active Expert during events or gatherings to discuss your eligibility…

Google Certification

Google certification: the new beginning

It’s now 2015, time to welcome the CP30x Google Cloud Platform Training Exams. New name. New approach. This time around it’s all test-based, and there are five separate multiple-choice exams, each administered online (with the help of your own web cam) by Web Assessor:

  • CP301: Google App Engine
  • CP302: Google Cloud Storage
  • CP303: Google Cloud SQL
  • CP304: Google BigQuery
  • CP305: Google Compute Engine

Once you’ve passed all five exams (each of which costs USD $100), you’ll have the right to call yourself a “Google Qualified Cloud Platform Developer.”

Will this new set of certifications gain traction and survive? Ask me again in a couple of years. In the meantime, however, Cloud Academy just happens to have three video courses on key Google cloud topics to get you going: Introduction to the Google Cloud Platform, Getting started with Google Compute Engine, and Data Management on Google Cloud Platform.