Google Cloud Platform Certification: Preparation and Prerequisites

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has evolved from being a niche player to a serious competitor to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. In 2019, research firm Gartner placed Google in the Leaders quadrant in its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for the second consecutive time. In the report, Gartner recommended the platform for its analytics, machine learning, and cloud-native applications. GCP has been growing rapidly and has landed big-name customers, such as Snap, Spotify, Best Buy, and Coca-Cola.

GCP Data Engineer Certification

With more and more companies using GCP for at least some of their cloud requirements, there is an increased demand for Google Cloud Platform certification training. Google now has seven certification exams that teams and IT professionals can use to validate their GCP skills.

What GCP certifications does Google offer?

Google currently offers seven certifications for Google Cloud Platform:

Associate Certifications

There is currently one associate-level certification: Associate Cloud Engineer. This is intended for people who handle the day-to-day maintenance of existing Google Cloud Platform implementations. The exam tests your ability to deploy applications, monitor operations, and maintain GCP projects. 

Professional Certifications

GCP Professional Certifications are role-based and are used to prove you have advanced design and implementation skills. The exams expect you to have practical, hands-on knowledge related to your particular job.

As of December 2019, there are six professional certifications offered (one in beta):

What are some differences between these roles?

One of the biggest reasons organizations choose Google Cloud Platform is for its robust data services, such as BigQuery, Cloud Dataflow, and Cloud AI Platform. While a Cloud Architect knows how to use these services at a high level, a Data Engineer has a much more in-depth understanding of how to design, build, maintain, and troubleshoot data processing systems. For example, a Data Engineer needs to have experience with cutting-edge concepts like neural networks and streaming analytics. 

Preparing for a Google Cloud certification exam

Google Cloud certification exams are known for their thoroughness and difficulty, so the importance of preparation and training beforehand cannot be overstated. Surprisingly, Google doesn’t provide a score at the end of an exam. Instead, it simply issues a “Pass” or “Fail” result, which doesn’t provide much help in terms of knowing where to study if you fail. This is another reason why it’s important to thoroughly prepare for the exam, and this is where certification training with Cloud Academy can help.

Here are five steps to take before writing an exam:

  1. Take the relevant learning path on Cloud Academy. We offer Professional Cloud Architect, Professional Data Engineer, and Associate Cloud Engineer. These learning paths include courses, labs, and exams for each certification.
  2. Get hands-on practice on Google Cloud Platform. Hands-on Labs and Lab Challenges provide easy ways for you to quickly get practical experience on real cloud environments without deploying your own infrastructure.
  3. Review the outline in the exam guide (such as the Data Engineer exam guide) and check for any knowledge gaps.
  4. The Cloud Architect and Data Engineer exams include questions about lengthy case studies. You can find these case studies in the exam guides. Make sure you read them thoroughly before writing the exam.
  5. Write Google’s practice exam (such as the Cloud Architect practice exam).

Each exam is two hours long and must be taken at a Kryterion testing center. Kryterion has over 1,000 testing centers in 120 countries, so you should be able to find one in your area.

What do I do after I take the exam?

As I mentioned earlier, the result shown after an exam is simply “Pass” or “Fail.” If you don’t pass, you’re allowed to take the exam again after 14 days. If you fail on the second attempt, then you have to wait 60 days before the next attempt.

If you pass the exam, you will receive an online certification badge that can be displayed on sites like LinkedIn, and more importantly, a Google Cloud certification hoodie.

Once you’re certified, you’ll want to stay up to date on Google Cloud Platform as it continues to evolve. Learn about Google Cloud Platform for Developers and other topics in our Google Cloud content library.

Good luck to you and your team!

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Written by

Guy Hummel

Guy is a certified cloud architect on all three of the major public cloud platforms: AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. He launched his first training website in 1995 and he's been helping people learn IT technologies ever since. Guy’s passion is making complex technology easy to understand.


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