Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is a public cloud computing platform that has many features for enterprises to take advantage of. Google Cloud (or GCP) along with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure completes the trifecta of public cloud providers. It also has certifications for individuals who want to learn how to use GCP. To be GCP cloud engineer certified, Google expects that you have experience working with public clouds and on-premises solutions. 

You may be able to skip straight to the Professional Cloud Architect if you’ve got some previous experience under your belt. However, if you’re a beginner and/or someone who wants to add more certificates to their resume, then you should go for Google Cloud Certified Associate exam.

Just like any other cloud providers, GCP expects a cloud engineer to be able to deploy applications and infrastructure, monitors operations of multiple projects, and maintains enterprise solutions to ensure that they meet target performance metrics. Additionally, individuals should be able to use Google Cloud Console and the command-line interface to perform common platform-based tasks to maintain and scale one or more deployed solutions that leverage Google-managed or self-managed services on Google Cloud.

Blog: If you aren’t familiar with GCP, read this blog to get your feet wet. 

Why do GCP Associate Cloud Engineer certification?

  • As per talent.com, the average Google Cloud Engineer salary in the USA is $141,375 per year or $72.50 per hour. Entry level positions start at $118,000 per year while most experienced workers make up to $180,000 per year.
  • 87% of Google Cloud certified users feel more confident in cloud skills.
  • 30% of Google Cloud certified users took on more responsibility or leadership roles at work.

Topics covered in GCP Associate Cloud Engineer Certification

  1. Setting up a cloud solution environment
  2. Planning and configuring a cloud solution
  3. Deploying and implementing a cloud solution
  4. Ensuring successful operation of a cloud solution
  5. Configuring access and security

For the complete and most recent list of topics covered, check out the official link from GCP. 

GCP Associate Cloud Engineer Exam Details

  • Length: 2 hours
  • Registration fee: $125 (plus tax where applicable)
  • Languages: English, Japanese, Spanish
  • Exam format: Multiple choice and multiple select
  • Total number of questions: 50
  • Validity: 2 years from the date of passing the certification
  • There is no official passing score for the exam. But folks scoring over an average of 70% seems to have passed the exam.
  • Please note that at the time of writing this blog, there are no performance-based labs in the certification exam. 

Resources to pass the GCP Associate Cloud Engineer Exam 

Everyone learns differently, and it is important to create your own learning path. Below are list of some resources to help you get started with Google Cloud engineer certification exam: 

  1. Google Cloud has its own course which is pretty decent for this certification. At the time of writing this blog, the course is free of charge. Link here.
  2. Official practice questions by google available for free. Link here.
  3. Practice Tests to get you over the finish line. Link here. Practice Exams should not be ignored when it comes to certifications. 
  4. Dan Sullivan’s Udemy course. Link here.
  5. Google Cloud documentation on best practices for Enterprise organizations.
  6. It is important to ensure that you have your Google Cloud platform fundamentals right. One way to do this is do some exploratory digging around on your own in the GCP console.

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Important exam topics for GCP Associate Cloud Engineer certification

The actual exam covers wide range of Google Cloud services and what they actually do. It focuses heavily on IAM, Compute, Storage along with a little bit of Network and data services. Below are some more important exam topics that will help you ace this Google Cloud Associate certification:

  • Identity Services – IAM (Permissions, Roles), Cloud Identity, Service Accounts
  • Data Services – Knowledge of Cloud Storage, Pub-Sub, Cloud Dataflow, BigQuery, Cloud Dataprep, Dataproc, Datalab
  • Data Storage – Google Cloud Storage, Cloud Spanner, Firestore, Bigtable, Cloud Datastore, Filestore, Cloud SQL, Storage Classes
  • Networking – Make sure you are familiar with VPCs, subnets, VPNs, Cloud Interconnect and Cloud Routers. Some other important topics include Firewalls, Cloud CDN, load balancing
  • Monitoring – Stackdriver, Audit Logs
  • Compute – Google Compute Engine, App Engine, Google Cloud Functions, Backups and Images, Preemptible Virtual Machines, Live Migration
  • GKE – Cloud Shell, Google’s implementation of Kubernetes Engine called GKE (Google Kubernetes Engine). Know the GKE setting default cluster i.e. gcloud config set container/cluster CLUSTER_NAME

Make your own notes as you go along reading and learning about these topics.

PRO TIP

GCP Associate Cloud Engineer Exam Tips

  • Hands-on experience is a must to pass the exam. If you have not worked on Google Cloud before make sure you do lot of labs else you would not do well on some of the questions and commands that are in the actual exam. Google recommends 6 months+ hands-on experience for this certification. But everyone learns at a different pace.

Google cloud gives you $300 credit for 3 months. So, if not anything else, try out the platform, spin up resources and get some hands on practice. Additionally sign up for Qwiklabs and get some more free hands-on labs under your learning belt.

PRO TIP
  • Exam questions can sometimes be wordy and lengthy. If you are not sure of the answer choice, flag questions for review later. Do not spend more time on one question.
  • Use the process of elimination for removing answer choices that make no sense at all. Your probability of guessing the right answer increases by eliminating wrong choices. 

Read Next: Guide to pass GCP Professional Data Engineer Certification. 

Conclusion

Google Cloud Associate is not a difficult certification to acquire with decent exposure to the platform. As you might be aware that Cloud computing is the most in-demand skill a developer must-have and this certification can give you an edge when it comes to getting hired. As per salary.com, the average Cloud Engineer salary in the United States is $125,664 as of November 29, 2021, but the salary range typically falls between $116,037 and $137,536. So, even if you don’t get certified, chances are by knowing Google Cloud, it will make you a better Cloud Engineer.

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