How to prepare for Google Cloud Certified – Professional Cloud Architect Exam ? Pass ?

If you are a solution architect or wanting to be one, it is very important to be up to date with the current market in terms of the latest cloud technologies…nothing is better than getting a certification from one of the upcoming and strong cloud players like Google. I have recently completed Associate Cloud Engineer(ACE) and just yesterday completed my GCP Professional Cloud Architect Exam as well.  I did not want to lose the momentum, so took it early and it paid off well. Let me share my experience on the exam and how to prepare for the same so that you can pass as well. 

How to prepare for the Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect Exam ? 

Below is my prep strategy, I followed guidance from my friends who also took the exam and they followed similar pattern, so it could work for most of you as well. 

  • Linux Academy : 
    • This is the nicest place for certifications prep and they cover the content very well and the course for GCP architect exam was much better than the Cloud Engineer exam.
    • Take Linux Academy’s Subscription for a month
    • Complete the Google Cloud Essentials course on Linux Academy
    • Complete the GCP – Professional Cloud Architect Course on Linux Academy 
      • The course is about 30 hours or so, make sure you do the exercises because you will need to be familiar with some of the concepts and nothing is better than hands on. 
      • Take the exam at the end for about 6 to 7 times, make sure you get about 90 percent at least towards the last three exams.
      • Download the 250 page PDF file by them and print it out, you can use it for the revision. 
  • Coursera : Take the GCP Cloud architect Course on Coursera .
    • You do not have to pay for the course, just select audit and then watch the videos. It is free. 
    • You can download the slides at the end and the reading material after you watch videos. You would see them in the material or resources section. You get the few pages reading material only, if you navigate by going through the videos…
    • The solutions for case studies are nicely done and in-line with what they cover in Linux Academy.  
    • They have many questions as well, so make sure you understand why something is wrong or right, it is by Google, so pay more attention. 
  • Sample Tests :  
    • Braincert : Highly recommend taking Sample tests for Google Cloud Professional architect from Braincert . Make sure you prepare for all the exams and pass all the exams, there are about 6 of them. 
    • Whizlabs : Optionally, you can do tests on WhizLabs  as well. Some of the answers are conflicting in Whizlabs, so when in doubt you should use Braincert.  If you are short on time, then no need to do this. Do NOT be disheartened, if you score less on the exam by whizlabs, some of them are way beyond what the test needs. 
  • Revision – 3 days before exam : 
    • You need to revise all the topics 3 to 5 days before the exam.
    • At least twice revision of the Linux Academy PDF material. I printed out the whole set as it is easier on the eyes and you can read faster. 
    • At least once revision of the Case Studies solutions in Coursera and the slides 
    • At least once revision of the BrainCert Tests. You can do this on the last day. 

That’s the exact plan I followed for my prep and it worked. It worked for at least a few of our friends. Now, let me share how the exam was…unfortunately, I cannot share the exact questions because you are not supposed it and you agree to the terms 🙂 

How was the Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect Exam ?

The exam was relatively easier for me than the GCP Associate Cloud Engineer exam, the simple reason is that about 50 to 60 percent questions are around the GCP offerings and you spend a lot of time on the same in the first ACE exam.  

  • The exam questions focus more on the architecture aspect, rather than nitty gritty aspects like command and format for the command
  • The questions are around selection of services of GCP over execution and using them
  • They asked more questions on what is the equivalent one, when you move something to GCP from onprem
  • They also asked questions around options to connect to Onprem, work with multiple organizations, projects.
  • Security questions around Google best practices for security and what kind of roles to give to whom, IAM predefined roles, etc. 
  • There were questions on using the Cloud Buckets, their policies and when to use them.
  • The questions of the case studies were more around testing strategy, migration equivalent services, giving security access, how to give access for someone in terms of restrictive access in products like Big Query, Cloud Storage, Stack Driver
  • There were questions around scaling using Kubernetes, Instance Groups, and how the network would go with them.
  • There were questions around how you would save cost when using GCP like discounts, how the billing works, etc. 
  • There were questions around CI / CD and how you would handle the scaling and failure, so you need to know the models, testing, and solutions like Jenkins, Spinnaker on a high level. 

Overall, I felt the questions were more generic on architecture and NOT focused on running operations, so you need to know the bigger picture around architecting solution, scaling the solution and saving cost.  If you have done the GCP ACE exam first, this may sound easier. 

How is your prep planning going on ? What are your thoughts on preparation ? 

If you gave exam, what are your tips to share ?

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