GoogleAppEngine

Why every engineer should take the GCP Cloud Certification and How?

What have you done yesterday? What are you going to do today? Are there any blockers? An engineer’s day at work starts and ends with these three questions. We are so engrossed in our day-to-day tasks that many of us fail to realize that there are multitude of technologies being developed, solving a variety of technical challenges, that might come to our aid in several situations.
Cloud service providers, having to cater to the needs of varied businesses to manage their technology on the cloud, provide the building blocks of technology required to solve a majority of the technical challenges. Hence, gaining a thorough understanding of these offerings provides us the necessary exposure to all the products and services, helps us to assess our areas of technical strengths and weakness and build the required expertise in all areas.

A cloud architect certification helps build a thorough understand and appreciation of various facets of a software organization and the various challenges involved in each discipline. With the lines between these disciplines blurring, it’s quintessential for engineers to slowly develop all the skills. It also helps organizations to build self-sufficient teams and highly skilled engineers in addition to being able to understand each others’ challenges better.

Taking the Google Cloud Architect professional certification into consideration, the focus is essentially on the following high-level disciplines - Networking, Security, Compute, Storage, Services, Tooling and Budget. I recommend the following approach for preparation:

Tips:
If you don’t have access to GCP, register for a free google cloud account ($300 credit). Create multiple gmail accounts with different credit cards if required.
Throughout the below process, maintain notes of your own which you’d refer to several times.
Each of the topics is an ocean by itself, make sure you don’t get into a rabbit’s hole by trying to master each of them.

Step 1: Take a course with hands-on labs (Mandatory)
If you are someone without prior hands-on experience on the GCP platform, this is a must. This would also be helpful for those who do have experience but not with all the products on the platform. It would be largely redundant for someone who has already worked on several components of the GCP.

https://www.coursera.org/specializations/gcp-architecture - Coursera
https://linuxacademy.com/linux/training/course/name/google-cloud-platform-architect-essentials - Linux Academy

Step 2: Decision tree or comparisons matrix (Mandatory)
The decision trees or comparison matrices are provided to identify a specific product in a product class based on the use case. While going through each of these decision trees or matrices, take time to read the product documentation overview and if required delve into specific topics.

https://medium.com/google-cloud/a-gcp-flowchart-a-day-2d57cc109401

https://cloud.google.com/interconnect/docs/how-to/choose-type - Interconnect
https://cloud.google.com/vpn/docs/how-to/choosing-a-vpn - VPN Routing
https://cloud.google.com/load-balancing/docs/choosing-load-balancer - Load Balancer
https://cloud.google.com/storage-options/ - Storage
https://cloud.google.com/storage/docs/storage-classes#comparison_of_storage_classes - Cloud Storage Classes
https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/gcp/choosing-the-right-compute-option-in-gcp-a-decision-tree - Compute
https://cloud.google.com/docs/choosing-a-compute-option - Compute Table
https://cloud.google.com/appengine/docs/the-appengine-environments - App Engine

Step 3: Case studies (Mandatory)
The cloud certification guide provides three different case studies at the end. There would be questions in the exam based on these case studies. Try to come up with several solutions to address various problems in the case studies. Reviewing the solutions with someone is a bonus.

https://cloud.google.com/certification/guides/professional-cloud-architect/

Step 4: Take the practice exam (Mandatory)
Google provides a practice assessment exam to test your skills. This would be a good time to take it.

https://cloud.google.com/certification/practice-exam/cloud-architect

Step 5: Recommended Solutions (Optional)

Google provides proposed solutions for a variety of use cases. All solutions can be explored at https://cloud.google.com/solutions/. The solutions are many and are overwhelming and below are a few solutions that cover a good range of use cases.

https://cloud.google.com/solutions/web-serving-overview - Serving Websites
https://cloud.google.com/solutions/architecture/scaling-commerce-workloads-architecture - Cloud Microservices Architecture
https://cloud.google.com/solutions/mobile/mobile-gaming-analysis-telemetry - Mobile Gaming Analytics
https://cloud.google.com/solutions/designing-connected-vehicle-platform - Connected Vehicle Platform
https://cloud.google.com/solutions/mobile/mobile-app-backend-services - Mobile App Backend Services
https://cloud.google.com/solutions/data-lifecycle-cloud-platform - Data Lifecycle
https://cloud.google.com/solutions/dr-scenarios-planning-guide - Disaster Recovery Planning Guide
https://cloud.google.com/solutions/image-management-best-practices - Image Management Best Practices
https://cloud.google.com/security/infrastructure/design/ - Cloud Security
https://cloud.google.com/solutions/teradata-to-gcp - Transitioning from Teradata to GCP Big Data
https://cloud.google.com/solutions/processing-logs-at-scale-using-dataflow - Processing Logs at Scale
https://cloud.google.com/solutions/gaming/cloud-game-infrastructure - Cloud Gaming Infrastructure

Step 6 : Last minute preparation

https://cloud.google.com/terms/services - Services Summary
Read your notes that you took along the way
https://github.com/agasthik/GoogleCloudArchitectProfessional/blob/master/GCP-Products-Cheat-Sheet.md - GCP Product Cheat Sheet

Along the way you’d have found plenty of useful information and a different way to gain gcp expertise. Once the journey is over successfully, it’s your time to write “.. yet another GCP exam prep blog”!

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