5 Tips that Helped Me Prepare for the Professional Cloud Architect Examination
According to a forecast by Cisco, cloud traffic will soon represent 92% of the global data center network traffic. For many companies transitioning from on-premise systems to the cloud, the Google cloud platform seems to be the most obvious choice.
The increasing demand for the Google Cloud Platform, spiked my interest in GCP training. I pursed it and today, I am a certified GCP professional cloud architect. As a Professional Cloud Architect, I have learned how to leverage Google Cloud technologies to design, develop and manage secure and scalable solutions.
The exam is not very easy and so, if you’re preparing for the Professional Cloud Architect Examination, here is some information and a few tips that could help.
The Exam Structure
Let’s start by understanding the basics. The GCP Professional Cloud Architect exam has 50 questions that must be completed within 2 hours. Many questions are based on real-life scenarios and use cases.
Hence, you need to have hands-on experience with GCP. It is a multiple-choice exam in English and Japanese that can be taken at a test center or remotely. There are no prerequisites but it is advisable to attempt the exam after you have at least 3 years of experience in the industry and at least 1 years’ experience working with GCP.
The exam has no defined pass score and at the end of the exam, you will only be informed as to whether you have passed or failed the exam.
Preparing for the Professional Cloud Architect Examination
As I mentioned earlier, you don’t need any prior certifications to make you eligible for this exam. That said, do not take this exam lightly. There is no dearth of information available online but depending on that alone is not enough. Here’s what I did.
- Participate In Preparatory Courses
I felt the need for a structured course to learn about the services offered by the Google Cloud Platform and its infrastructure. I found the Architecting with Google Compute Engine course very helpful. The course was a combination of presentations, demos and hands-on lab sessions that allowed me to explore the solution elements.
There are many other courses available online as well. You can choose to participate in multiple courses if you have the time. Cloud providers ofetnuse similar concepts but for GCP certification, you should be familiar with core concepts such as Google Computing, Networking, Cloud Storage, Database and Cloud IAM.
- Hands-On Experience
You cannot expect to clear this exam only with theoretical knowledge. You need to know how to set up GCP services and run them, how to use the command lines, etc. Thus hands-on experience is a must. This experience helps clarify concepts and gives you a much better understanding of whatever you may have learned in the class.
When I talk of hands-on experience, I did not limit myself to the lab sessions integrated into the course – I spent time exploring the platform independently too and suggest you do the same.
- Get Experience With Software Development
You will have a few questions on topics such as continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD), software development life cycle, testing, resiliency, etc. You should have a clear understanding of data protection offered by GCP and its regulatory compliance such as HIPPA, COPPA, GDPR and PCI-DSS. Industry experience cannot be equated to any amount of classroom learning and will prove very helpful when you’re answering scenario-based questions.
- Go Through Case Studies
Case studies are a sizeable chunk of the question paper. As many as 12 out of the 50 questions may be based on case studies. If you’re not familiar with the format, it can be quite stressful. Since the exam is timed, you should be able to read through the case studies, understand them properly and attempt them quickly.
Before you schedule the exam, go through the exam guide. This contains a complete list of topics you should be prepared for as well as 3 GCP case studies – Dress4Win, TerramEarth and MountkirkGames. By going through these case studies before the exam, I found that I could save time during the paper.
- Answer Mock Tests
Trust me when I say, try as many mock tests as you can. Remember, there is a fee payable for attempting the certification exam. If you fail this exam, the fee is forfeited completely. But, there are a number of practice papers available freely online.
I took the tests that were part of the preparatory Architecting with Google Compute Engine course as well as a few others. It was only when I was confident in answering these papers and able to consistently get a high score on them that I scheduled the exam.
Never Give Up
Once you take the exam, it may take a few days before you get your results. If you don’t clear it in the first attempt, do not be disheartened- as I said in the beginning, this is not an easy certification. You can always retake the exam after a little more studying and experience. Hopefully, my tips will help you get ready for the exam. All the best!