Prepping for the Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect Exam


This exam was tough. Downplaying its difficulty won’t help anyone. First, let me give you a little background about my journey in technology. I started twenty years ago selling computers in a retail store. I graduated to desktop support, then server support. Eventually it was supporting Active Directory, Citrix, and Exchange. Eventually, I began to architect, design, and implement complex technology solutions. That lead to making the jump into consulting and working for a technology reseller.

I’ve always been data center guy, I had been dancing around the cloud for a while. It was take to take a leap. So I studied, watched videos, and worked in GCP labs for months. When I took the exam, I still felt unprepared.

Why Google Gloud?

Well, there were a couple of reason. First, they’re partner friendly. As someone who works for a partner, it made a lot of sense to learn about the cloud in general while focusing on Google’s take on it. Second, I liked their pricing model, free tier access and usage, and $300 credit to get started. Last, they’re growing rapidly and I like their console a lot. One thing to note, I’m not solely endorsing GCP over any other cloud provider. Use what makes sense for you, luckily cloud principles are technology agnostic.

How Long and What Did I Study?

I took over six months to review Google articles, watch videos, take online courses, and work in GCP labs. My studies mostly happened after work hours, but sometimes I did have time to study during the day. I tried to block time to study, but work and life would get in the way. If I could do this again, I would have laid out a plan and structure to keep me on task. Working almost completely remote during a global pandemic allowed me to be distracted. A lot.

Here’s an incomplete list of my study material:

+ The Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect Exam Guide so I knew what to study

+ The four case studies linked in the exam guide because they’re referenced on the exam. You don’t need to memorize them, but you should be familiar with them. You will have access to them during the exam.

Case Studies:

+ A Cloud Guru’s GCP Architecture Learning Path

+ Coursera’s Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect Learning Path

+ Google’s Cloud Architect Learning Path

+ Google Cloud Tech Videos

+ Google Documentation: Google Cloud Documentation, Google Cloud Products, and more

+ Running, testing, and breaking GCP technology in the GCP Console, be sure to sign up for the trial with $300 credit

+ All kinds of random blogs, articles, and collaboration with peers

What Was The Exam Like?

I took the test in person. I had two hours to finish 50 questions. If memory serves me, I had approximately a dozen questions related to the cases studies. Only two of the case studies were referenced. All questions were multiple choice. The material covered on the test was “a mile wide and an inch deep”.

Be sure to read the questions and answers carefully. You could eliminate several answers by how the questions or answers were worded. An example could be that the question is asking about CloudRun and the answers related to backup and containers. Know what the technology does. Answer the questions the best you can, mark ones you’re not confident in, and review them later. Don’t get hung up, keep moving, and come back to review.

When you finish the test, Google will tell you if you passed or failed. No more, no less. It was a bit frustrating not knowing what technologies to follow up on and review. I passed, but I don’t really know how or why. I have no point of reference.

Here is list of technologies I remember seeing on the test, it’s of course not all encompassing list: Anthos App Engine, Auto-Scaling, Big Table, Big Query, Binary Authorization, CI/CD, Cloud DataFlow, Cloud DataProc, Cloud DataStore, Cloud Deployment Manager,Cloud KMS, Cloud VPNs, CloudSQL, Compliance, Firebase, GKE and Cloud Run, IAM permissions (on storage and projects/folders), Instance Groups, Interconnects (dedicated), Microservices, Network/HTTP Load Balancers, Organization Policies/Constraints, Private Google Access, Pub/Sub, Service Accounts, Service Level Indicators, Transfer appliances, VPCs (standard, shared, service controls)

Wrapping Up

Next, I’m going to be working to cement the knowledge I’ve learned and enable others in my organization. I’ve learned a lot and plan to share it as much it as possible. One thing I’ve done is to recreate my blog running on GCP, it’s not much but it’s a start.