How to Prepare for the Google Cloud Certified Professional Data Engineer Exam and Pass It On Your First Try

Thinking about new year’s resolutions? How about adding Google Cloud certificate to your career portfolio? Data engineering on a cloud platform is a crucial step in machine learning pipeline nowadays. If you’re wondering how to be better prepared for Google Cloud Professional Data Engineer certification exam and pass it on your first try, this article is here to help. And I would share one of my personal notes for preparation at the end of the article.

The GCP Data Engineer exam is a 2-hour exam containing 50 multiple choice questions. You will be notified about the exam result immediately after you submit it from the test centre. The certificate with a signature from the Google Cloud CEO will be emailed to you within a week.

The following are 4 tips which I wish someone had told me before I went to the exam. It could take you one to three months for preparation depending on your experience and background in cloud data engineering.

1. Take the Data Engineering on Google Cloud Platform Specialization on Coursera

There are 5 courses in this Specialization including:

  • Google Cloud Platform Big Data and Machine Learning Fundamentals
  • Leveraging Unstructured Data with Cloud Dataproc on Google Cloud Platform
  • Serverless Data Analysis with Google BigQuery and Cloud Dataflow
  • Serverless Machine Learning with Tensorflow on Google Cloud Platform
  • Building Resilient Streaming Systems on Google Cloud Platform
Photo credit to Coursera

Through a combination of presentations and hands-on labs offered by these courses, you will learn how to design data processing systems, build end-to-end data pipelines, analyze data and train machine learning models on GCP. These courses cover structured, unstructured, and streaming data, which are the three types of data you would work with in the industry.

2. Take the Data Engineer Practice Exam

The Data Engineer practice exam offered by Google will familiarize you with types of questions you may encounter on the certification exam. Sun Tzu states that, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle” (The Art of War). Go through the practice exam at least three times during your preparation, especially the night before the exam to warm up your brain.

The practice exam also helps you determine your readiness. What exactly does readiness mean? One metric is accuracy. Participants should answer at least 80% questions correctly. The other metric is speed. It is important to time yourself while writing the exam. You would have 2.4 mins per question in the real exam. Considering we might get nervous in the real exam, it is better to reach the speed of around 1.5 mins per question in practice.

Photo credit to Google Cloud

3. Finish All Hands-on Project with Qwiklabs

Finish all hands-on projects on Data Engineering Google Cloud Training with Qwiklabs, especially if you don’t use GCP in your daily job/study. From Big Query, to Dataflow, to Dataproc, to BigTable, to Tensorflow, practicing with this advanced-level quest will increase your skills and abilities.

The exam is challenging and external studying, experience, and background in cloud data engineering is strongly recommended. I would like to repeat here: if you don’t use GCP in your daily work, it is important to go through these hands-on projects to build a practical and deep understanding of the services on GCP.

Photo credit to Google Cloud Traning

4. Review the sample case study

There are two sample case studies offered by GCP which describe a fictitious business and solution concept to provide additional context to exam questions.

Review these sample case studies ahead because they may be used in the exam. Pay attention to the Business Requirements and Technical Requirements. The solution you provide should be able to solve the specific problem addressed in the scenario.

Last but not least, I would like to share one of my personal Notes for GCP Data Engineer Exam Preparation which contains the questions you may encounter in tip one above. The questions in the note are totally different from the exam in format and context. The purpose of sharing this note is to provide you with one more way to evaluate your understanding of the GCP services including BigQuery, DataProc, DataFlow, etc.

Congratulations! You are well prepared if you finish these four steps. But what if you don’t pass the exam on the first try? It’s painful but it’s not the end of your story. Try the 2nd/3rd/4th … time! Because it is an opportunity to prove that you are unstoppable, you are persistent enough to get what you want, you can become the person you aspiring to be.

Happy New Year!

Shot at Ontario Science Centre