So in January 2020 I've got my GCP Professional Cloud Architect certification. It was a lot since I wanted to write about this experience but, you know, I'm a fu**ing lazy bastard... 😴
Still, here we are!
This is not my first cert.: previously I've got an AWS Cloud Practitioner cert (a basic, introductory one). In both cases I've been asked to sign a ton of paper where, basically, both companies warned me that, in case of content disclosure, they will nuke my house and my family with nuclear bombs.
So this is a piece about what I can not say! Yup! 😅
When preparing for an "higher" level cert I was expecting few complex questions: in the end an architect is not a packaging machine! You are not expected to perform a million simple tasks at speed light. You are expected to solve complex problems with the right tools.
Instead the exam is composed by a ton of closed/multiple choice questions. The specificity of these questions is that they are not difficult: they are tricky! and of cource filled with all the commercial names of GCP products. 😖
Yes! Basically what you really have to mind is the details, the small adverbs, or similar, which, in a predefined jargon (internal to Google) means: "hey, here the candidate has to focus on answers taking about managed instances" or "here, with this adjective, we expect him/her to think about that technology of ours".
So basically my very first advice is: do a lot of exercise! If you find a for-free or paid test which is vaguely related to yours GCP cert, do it! To accustomize yourself to the type of questions.
I've made the preparatory checks even for GCP Cloud Engineer, just to be more comfortable.
The other 25% was about big data technologies and processing.
The other half was about anything you can look at in a GCP Console, with a certain care on networking products.
What was not in the exam, at least not in a relevant way, was: deep kubernetes know-how, no ML/AI - I think they have a dedicated thing about this -, not super hard questions about security - again I think there is a specific exam for this -.
I've trained myself by using the Coursera path for GCP Professional Cloud Architect. I really don't know if this is an effective path. In the end the exam is a ton of closed/multiple choice questions, while Coursera modules (leave the first out) are hands-on material.
To be clear: the course is distributed by Coursera but the content is produced directly by Google, so this is the official training path. Still I'm not sure that all those labs helped me with the kind of exam I've faced...
I know that both Udemy and Linuxacademy have courses for this exam, but I don't know which focus they have.
This is the thing: do you live in a country where it is easy to be hired as a cloud architect and you need a cert "just" to rise your salary or you live in a country (like me) where you are trying to become a cloud architect and you think that a cert badge will help you having new job opportunities?
In the former case the 3-year experience paired with a formal course will let you successfully pass the exam. In the latter you must have the badge before you can have hands-on experience. So this becomes a chicken-n-egg problem
I really don't know what to say. Experience always helps, but in may case I've just made the Coursera copy-pasta exercises and I've deployed a couple of projects for some customers of mine. No more than 1 month hands-on with only 2 real life projects (a firebase one and a VM+Cloud SQL one).
Still, I managed to pass the exam. My thoughts on this are: as there are a ton of tricky questions with a lot of confusing commercial names, hands-on experience will let you slowly absorb the jargon and the names of GCP, making you more comfortable with the exam.
Anyway the questions range on such many topics that I do not think that a generic 3-years experience will let you face enough real life problems with all of the GCP technologies.
I'm now on the edge to understand if the cert has any market value for me. Surely, being certified let your customers/future employers have a (vague) knowledge about the fact that you have at least a sufficient understanding of GCP design.
And also this is my very first tough examination after a lot of years (my PhD thesis dated back to 2008) and it is somewhat reassuring for my self-esteem that I can still face an exam and pass it! ✌