Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect - Preparation Guide

29 Jul 2018

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I passed the Google Certified Professional - Cloud Architect exam on July 24, 2018, at Google Next’18 in San Francisco.

Certification Image

Like everyone else, I googled for preparation tips from those who were certified already. I was overwhelmed by the amount of information that I have to consume (online courses, documentation, videos etc). Even though this is a professional level certification, I wasn’t really sure, that I have to subject myself to so much mundane reading and watching. I am working with Google Cloud Platform for about a year and a half, completely hands-on on a good number of services. So, I thought I should be able to clear the exam even without preparation. But, I didn’t take chances anyway.

So, I crafted my own plan. Here you go.

1. Coursera Courses

I completed google recommended specialization courses in Coursera.

Mandatory - Architecting with Google Cloud Platform Specialization

Optional - Developing Applications with Google Cloud Platform Specialization

If you are not pressed for time, I would suggest you complete both the courses.

Pro Tip: While studying these courses, make a lot of notes. I prefer an A5 size notebook and a fountain pen. Use whatever note-taking method is comfortable for you. You can review these notes on the last day of your preparation.

2. Flowcharts in GCP

This is the only section of the preparation, where you need to know the decision tree by heart. Do it even if you don’t like to memorize and thank me later.

A GCP flowchart a day

More GCP flowcharts for your delectation

Pro Tip: Download all the flowchart images on your mobile phone, for a quick review, anytime.

3. Review the GCP Solutions

If you are already a solutions architect, you must have created quite a lot of architectures for many cloud providers and you could skip this section. If that’s not you, please pay more attention to this. Irrespective of the certification results, you will be doing this as a profession anyway.

Cloud Solutions Architecture Reference

Go through every single architecture; evaluate each one of them. See, if you can come up with a better solution, with the latest offerings from GCP. Quite frankly many of them are outdated. Use this as a training ground to create solutions for a wide variety of industries. You will love this.

Pro Tip: Don’t just glance through the architecture diagrams, even if it looks very simple. Absorb the diagram in your mind and quickly scribble them as little boxes without looking at the actual diagram. The act of drawing it on a notepad reinforces that architecture deep into your mind.

4. Create solutions for all 4 Case Studies

Imagine them as your real customers and create real solutions for them. Complete, Exhaustive Solutions. Draw the architecture. Write down why you chose a specific service vs other possibilities. Write down how your solution is highly scalable and reliable and what the limitations are. The document that you create could be a simple scratchpad with jotted down notes. But it should contain enough information to produce a complete, detailed solutions architecture diagram.

Case Studies

Pro Tip: These case studies may be used in the actual certification exam. If you get the same case study for your certification exam, you should not spend time reading the case study. You should already have the solution in your mind and ace all the questions, right away.

5. Review GCP documentation

If you already completed the previous 4 steps and still have time left, you could review the GCP documentation.

Google Cloud Platform Documentation

Pro Tip: Focus on the concepts, quick start, and FAQ.

6. Google Next Videos

Completely for your leisure and learning. Please don’t watch each and every one of them. Scroll through the list, pick and watch what interests you.

Google Cloud Next ‘17 - All Sessions

All Sessions - Google Cloud Next ‘18

Pro Tip: You could easily train yourself to watch the videos 2X faster. Start with 1.25X, then 1.5X, then 1.75X and sky is the limit. I can comprehend easily with 1.75X speed. You could go faster or slower. Speed is not the objective, comprehension is.

References for continuous learning

Please let me know if you have any specific questions.

All the best !!!

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