How to Pass the GCP Professional Cloud Architect Certification
I am a certified GCP professional cloud architect now! I delayed this exam a few times due to COVID-19 until I could take the exam remotely. In this blog, I will share how I passed the GCP professional cloud architect certification in the first attempt. I collected my learning path, study materials, and test experience immediately after the exam. So I hope the information I provided here may help others earn one of the most valuable cloud certifications.
Exam Difficulty Level
The exam is more difficult than AWS Certified Solution Architect – Associate exam. I felt it as the same level as AWS Certified Data Analytics – Specialty exam. At the time of writing this blog, the GCP Professional Cloud Architect exam is a two-hour exam with 50 questions. The questions in the exam focused on real scenario-based use cases and your hands-on experience in GCP.
Learning Path and Study Materials
There are no prerequisites for this exam. But I had two AWS certificates and one-year hands-on experience on the GCP platform before this exam. The knowledge on AWS did save me a lot of learning time of GCP since AWS and GCP use the same cloud concepts. The following is my learning path to prepare for this exam:
- You can find many good structured online courses for this exam. Take the free trial opportunity of those courses to find one fit with your learning style. Here is my courses list with its complementary advantages:
- Architecting with Google Compute Engine Specialization and Preparing for the Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect Exam from Coursera. The first course will provide you comprehensive information on GCP and hands-on labs in Qwiklabs. The second one provides good architecture solutions for sample case studies and the sample exam questions with the answers. Take the benefit of free enrollment option or the coupon from Google Cloud Next on these two courses. Save PDFs of the slides from these courses to review them before the exam. At the time of writing this blog, Google Cloud also offers free training available for a limited time on Associate Cloud Engineer, Professional Cloud Architect, and Professional Data Engineer. Please also take advantage of this offer.
- Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Architect from Linux Academy. I liked its Master Builder’s Guide to Google Cloud. It also provided good architecture solutions for sample case studies and the practice exam.
- Hands-on experience: This exam will expect you can set up and run GCP services not only through console but also use command lines (e.g. gcloud, gsutil, and kubectl). So you should gain hands-on experience with Google Cloud free tier. Coursera and Linux Academy courses provided hands-on labs. I did all tutorials under Start a tutorial menu in the GCP console and the Qwiklabs in Coursera’s courses. I had the questions related to the hands-on labs from the Coursera’s courses.
- Software development experience: This exam does have some questions on software development such as software development life cycle, continuous integration/continuous deployment(CI/CD), testing, and resiliency. You should also understand data protection and regulatory compliance with GCP (e.g. PCI-DSS, GDPR, HIPPA, and COPPA). I collected the GCP Professional Cloud Architect Certification Learning Videos list if you don’t have time to read all GCP documentation.
You will receive either Pass or Fail at the end of the exam. There is no official passing score from Google. It will take 7 to 10 days for Google to evaluate your remote test result before Google releasing your certification information. I registered the exam on the same day when I felt there was nothing I want to study. Here is my lesson learned from the exam:
- There are no long description questions like I saw in the AWS CDA exam. So don’t rush in to complete the exam. You should have enough time to read and understand each question.
- I had the questions of GCP case studies at the beginning of the exam. Those questions were really hard and around 24% of the exam. In order to not get stressed out at the beginning, spend more time learning GCP case studies. You should have the best solution architectures, the fastest lift&shift solutions, and the solutions for the future growth ready before the exam.
- If you’re stumped on something, don’t spend too much time on it. Just flag those questions for later review and select your best guess.
- Even most cloud providers use similar concepts, but don’t confuse GCP’s with others’. You should get a deep understanding of core concepts like Google Computing (GCE, GKE, GAE, Functions), Networking (VPC, load balancing, connection), Cloud IAM, Storage (GCS, disks), and Database (SQL, Spanner, FireStore, BigTable, BigQuery). I also provided a sample of my last-minute cheat sheet for the GCP Professional Cloud Architect Certification exam. I also provided the last-minute cheat sheet of database/big data/data processing Google Cloud services in my article How to Pass Google Cloud Professional Data Engineer Certification.
Hopefully, my experience will help you to study more effectively. Good luck on your exam!