Google Cloud Architect Exam Study Materials — Updates for 2019 Re-certification
Two years after my initial certification for the Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect Certification, it became time to re-certify as the cert is valid for only two-years. Many notification emails will come to your email well in advance of the expiration date giving plenty of heads up — with my notification also came a discount code, so be on the possible look out for that.
I covered my original preparation notes in a previous post, Google Cloud Architect Exam Study Materials (July, 2017), and those notes are still solid prep material, but I did extend my preparation for this re-certification, which I wanted to share in this update.
Latest Exam Guide & Practice Exam
Firstly, make sure to check out the most up-to-date official Exam Guide. Read the Case Studies in the guide, these will likely be the same ones you’ll use in your exam.
There is even a Practice Exam now (this didn’t exist when the exam first came out). You can optionally go ahead and try the Practice Exam to see how you fair, or wait til you’ve done some studying first — just keep in mind the questions are static and do not change each time you take the practice exam. The practice exam questions are really good, and are exactly like what is on the exam, so it’s good practice.
New & Expanded Prep Materials
Secondly, the amount of preparation material since 2017 has greatly increased: hooray!
- Linux Academy has a ton of new GCP content, including a course designed specifically for this certification: Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Architect Course by Matthew Ulasien. (I have to say this is not just one of the best GCP courses, but one of the best courses I’ve ever taken. I love the format and content, and they give you a great PDF to use in your studies.)
- Google Cloud Next 2019 — All Session Videos (Don’t feel required to watch everything, but if there’s an area you think you could use some polish, find a session on it.)
- Google Cloud Next 2018 — All Session Videos (While 2018 is over a year old, and lots of changes happen in a year in the Cloud, I think you’ll be pretty safe referencing the content in these videos for any questions on the test — if you want to know the most up-to-date for general knowledge, make sure you check out the 2019 videos, though.)
- Coursera now has a specific Professional Cloud Architect course, as well. I personally prefer two of the Specializations, though: Architecting with Google Cloud Platform Specialization & Architecting with Google Kubernetes Engine (Kubernetes is important for the test, but the Kubernetes specialization may be overkill — however, I think it’s a really good specialization.) There are a lot of great Coursera courses on GCP, and the Qwiklabs built in to the courses are spectacular for helping you learn.
- ACloud.Guru also has several GCP courses now, including exam prep for the Associate Cloud Engineer and the Certified Professional Architect. The two courses kind of build on each, though can probably be treated independently. The ACE course also sends you over to their Kubernetes course, too.
- GCP Flowcharts from GrumpyGrace.dev are a collection of decision trees on when to pick what service/option that have been collected from throughout the official Google Cloud documentation. These are a great resource to help you know when to pick what as an Architect.
Disclaimer: All of these recommendations are my personal opinion, and these are not advertisements or sponsored recommendations — I have, however, become employed by Google since my last guide was made, for full disclosure.
Additional Services & Solutions to Know
I included a list of official documentation in the original guide, but these solutions also came up in my re-cert prep, so be sure to know these as well:
- Cloud Dataprep: https://cloud.google.com/dataprep/docs/
- Cloud Shell: https://cloud.google.com/shell/docs/
- Cloud Source Repository: https://cloud.google.com/source-repositories/docs/
- Transfer Appliance: https://cloud.google.com/transfer-appliance/docs/2.0/
- Git, Spinnaker, & Jenkins (know at a very high level what these do and their basic terms)
Exam Tips & Tricks
Lastly, here are some other tips that may be useful:
- Know how to lifecycle data in all of the storage options (database, object, etc.) both from the UI and the CLI.
- Understand when to use Cloud Dataproc and when to use Cloud Dataflow.
- Know Cloud connectivity options like Cloud VPN, Cloud Interconnect, and others, and when to use them and not use them.
- Look for little things in the wording of the question or answer that would invalidate an otherwise correct answer (e.g. if it’s possibly best option but they called a VPN a Virtual Parallel Network instead of a Virtual Private Network).
- Understand how security rules flow up and down whether it’s IAM or Bucket Policies, etc.
- For each service, be sure to understand whether it’s Global, Regional, or Zonal and how that impacts the architecture.
- For areas that have lots of options (e.g. databases), know what the limits are of those databases that would push you towards a different option (e.g. Cloud Spanner versus Cloud SQL).
- Know how to get data into GCP, and when to use what option.
After studying, head over to WebAssessor and register! Keep in mind, you can reschedule up to 72 hours in advance if you need. As far as the exam itself, you receive your Pass or Fail immediately, though you do not receive any details on how much you passed or failed by, or which areas you did well in — it’s a simple Pass or Fail. But, if you’ve studied the above and spent time with GCP, you should have no problems acing it!