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How I got prepared for the GCP – Professional Cloud Architect Exam

Hi,


In this blog post, I tell about my preparation process for the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) – Professional Cloud Architect exam, with which our paths crossed through my Kartaca adventure.


Unfortunately, while researching this process, Turkish resources were almost non-existent. I wrote this blog post as a Turkish resource, answering the question, “How should we prepare?” However, I should also state that; the exam itself, GCP documents, resources, and forum posts available on the internet will be almost 95% in English.


The roadmap I followed was useful for me, and I was successful on my first try. I believe it will guide you through this process as well 🙂


How do we register?

To create your exam registration, firstly, you need to create a membership on Webassessor.com and book the exam date.


Before the pandemic, only the authorized exam centers could perform the exams. Since recently, you can take the exam online.


Google conducts its exams through the company Kryterion. You can choose the day and time that suits you and pay the fee of 200 dollars regardless you take the exam online or in the exam center. Because of my job, I preferred the evening hours.


Don’t get too comfortable because the exam will be online. At the beginning of the exam, the person in charge checks your room, your desk, your computer screen thoroughly, and your ID card for authentication.


An authorized person continues to observe you during the exam and can stop or invalidate your exam in cases of violation. I got a warning because of reading the questions aloud in my session 🙂


When you confirm your answers, your exam result will appear on your screen as PASS-FAIL immediately. Even if you get a PASS message, they state that they will return by confirming your exam result 7-10 days later to check for any violations that may have occurred during the exam. If they confirm that you pass, your certificate is sent by email, while the gifts and stickers you choose are mailed to your address.


Let’s take a look at the exam format:


GCP Cloud Architect Exam Features;



Another critical point to be considered for the GCP Cloud Architect exam is that this exam measures not only your technical knowledge of GCP, but also your understanding of the business and expects you to be informed about project management methodologies, digital transformation, organizational structures, financial concepts, and product management. In short, we can say that Google positions people with this certificate as “GCP Consultant.”


If you think you do not have sufficient information on the business side, you can focus first to learn about business-related topics based on the scope of this exam, and later on the technical side.


Alternatively, you may firstly take the “GCP Associate Cloud Engineer” exam, which deals only with the technical side.


Let’s continue with the roadmap already 🙂

1) Coursera


First of all, I suggest you start by completing the Professional Cloud Architect Certification course in Coursera. It will be a good starting point if you do not have extensive knowledge of the cloud or have never used it. This course, consisting of 6 chapters, contains basic concepts about GCP, although it is not directly exam-oriented.


While the first five chapters of the course tell you about the platform and its features, it also allows you to gain experience in GCP with applied labs in the sections.


Chapter 6 gives you brief information about the general teaching method of this course, how to prepare for the exam, and what you can encounter in the exam.


2) Case studies on GCP website


After completing the training in Coursera, we continue to the GCP website and focus on the 3 example cases below.



So why are these case studies important?


– At least 1 question comes up about these cases in the exam.

– They are arranged exactly according to the exam format.


In other words, you can come across questions from these cases or explanatory text parts (though not identical).


Every case, in other words every fictive company, has its challenges, and you are expected to offer solutions to these problems as a cloud architect. As I mentioned before, the questions here can be technical as well as business-related.


You read the current status of the companies in these case studies. I strongly recommend that you know by heart the details mentioned in these 3 sample cases before the exam. It will earn you time and self-confidence.


During the exam, you can view the details of these companies on the side of the questions. However, I think the explanations in the exam content are not as detailed as on their websites.


In my exam, there were about 4-5 questions about these cases. I could quickly answer because I had a good command of the companies mentioned.


Generally, questions such as “How would you manage Hybrid Cloud?”, “How would you transfer on-premise environments to GCP, how would you manage the processes?” “How could you solve the current problems with GCP?” can also be asked.


3) Practice Test


Google has published a sample 23-question practice exam on its site. You can try these questions as much as you want. However, please keep in mind that the question lengths and difficulty levels are not very similar to the actual exam. The questions in my exam were longer and had resembling choices. Nevertheless, solving this exam will make you familiar with the real exam format.


4) An incredibly useful Youtube channel: GCP with Mahesh!


I highly recommend you spend time on this channel for at least 4-5 days before taking the exam. There are video lists on the channel related to GCP exams, and I think it is very useful. After passing the exam, I did not skip sending him a thank you email 🙂


Mahesh reviews the case studies mentioned earlier, explaining in detail the current status of those fictive companies, how to integrate them into GCP, or how to position their business challenges in GCP. Apart from that, there are lab videos that examine various situations. Definitely, one of the resources you should visit before taking the exam.


5) Finally Linux Academy!


The most important difference of Linux Academy from Coursera is that there are sample exams as well as educational videos for various exams.


At first, I just browsed through the questions. Later my colleagues who previously received certificates told me that the exams on this site are very similar to the actual exam, and they strongly advised me not to take the real exam before getting a grade in 90–100 range from this one.


I was astonished to see how right they were when I took the actual exam. I came across questions very close to the sample questions on the site. My advice to you is to take the 50-question exams at least 5-6 times and to go through the explanations of the parts you have done wrong and learn them.


If you are going to take the Cloud Architect Exam without the experience level recommended by Google, my biggest advice is to take an in-depth look into the technologies you will encounter, especially in case studies and find their correspondences in GCP. “GCP with Mahesh” channel I mentioned earlier has a solution paper related to this, but don’t settle for it and try to be familiar with the new technologies you encounter, learn where and for what purpose they are used. After all, you want to be a Professional Cloud Architect, and you will need to work with many different technologies.


Bonus:


Another resource that can take place at any point in the above list is the Official Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Architect Study Guide  book by Dan Sullivan. In addition to the technical details, it explains the business side in depth. The printed version of the book may seem a little expensive, but you can get it as an e-book at a more affordable price.


I hope the information I shared in this blog post is useful to you.


Author: Burak Büyükyağmur

Date Published: Jun 15, 2020