Saturday, May 15, 2021

GCP ACE: Preparation stratergy and tips that no one shares

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I recently got certified as an Associate Cloud Engineer by Google, and also realised there are not many resources available that would actually guide you with the preparation and study material, so I decided to contribute with one.

Athough I had some experience with GCP before enrolling for the exam, I was still pretty clueless on getting myself prepared for the certification. So I did some homework, gathered study material, and created a stratergy to manage my time for preparation. I am sharing these information in the blog and it would be helpful for both beginners, as well as, experienced professionals.

 

Where to Start?

It is essential to understand that this is an Associate level certification, where Google would test your knowledge on the very basics of Google Cloud Platform. They need you to be able to use Google Cloud Console and the command-line interface to perform common platform-based tasks to maintain one or more deployed solutions that leverage Google-managed or self-managed services on Google Cloud.

For example, you need to have an understanding of GCP Project Structures, IAM roles and policies, managed services by Google, integration with other cloud or on-premise networks, billing, recommended practices, appropriate GCP service for certain use cases, etc.

Go through the following Exam Guide, which highlights topics you should focus on. This will help you plan your preparation stratergy.
https://cloud.google.com/certification/guides/cloud-engineer

Plan out your preparation strategy

Keep it simple. Iterate.
Instead of going deep into each topic one by one, cover all topics at once and dig deeper going forward with each iteration

 

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The time you want to dedicate for each iteration would depend on your comfort with GCP and time you have for preparation. For example, I had around a month and a half before the exam and I could make use of 2–3 hours on weekdays and around 5 hours on weekends. Although, I already had some exposure to GCP at my workplace, which definately helped me a lot.

Iteration 1 (Introducatory):

  • [Very Important]
    Register a new Google Cloud account. You would receive $300 (or €273) credits, valid for 1 year. Utilize it to explore and get your hands dirty as much as you can on the GCP console. I would sugguest try out all the stuff that you learn from the courses. It will help you have a better understading overall.
  • [Very Important]
    Register at Qwiklabs, you would receive 250 credits as a signup bonus. These credits would be useful to complete hands-on exercises and quests. Dont Worry, 250 credits are quite enough for your preparation.
  • [Important]
    Enroll for an introductory course for GCP ACE.
    I would suggest the below course by Dan Sullivan (who is also the author of Official Certification Guide for Google).
    Google Associate Cloud Engineer: Get Certified 2020

    It took me a week to go through the course and try out related things on GCP. This would give you an overall picture of what to expect from the examination.

Tip: I would suggest to create notes for information that you may need to go through later on, before the exam.

Tip: Check with your employer if they have a subscription of Udemy for Business to access it free of cost. If not, check for any on going offers before purchasing the course.

Iteration 2 (Dig Deeper):

Now that you know what to prepare, dig a little more deeper into the topics.

  • [Very Important]
    strongly recommend the below Official Certification Guide, again by Dan Sullivan. Go through the concepts and exercises in the book.
 

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This book is a must to have as it describes the concepts very well, suggests best practices, includes excercises, mentions the small but important details that you need to know. This book would help you prepare exactly in allignment with the exam structure.

Tip: If you need to save a few bucks, go for ebook version for your phone / kindle.

Tip: While completing the quests, also try to go through the official docs for relavant topics. I referred the docs mostly for IAM and Network related topics. There is a lot of well structured information available on the docs that would help you a lot. It is the best source of learning.
Documentation | Google Cloud

  • [Optional, only if you have enough time]
    Take up another course that would be going through the topics thoroughly. For example, my employer provided course voucher for Roitraining.com. You can check udemy courses from below:

Iteration 3 (Revise and Practice):

    • [Important]
      Revise throughly all the concepts you have gone through.
    • [Most Important]
      Everything would go in vain unless you practice what you had learnt! The best way to do so is with practice questions and practice sets. I strongly advice you to go through the below practice sets as they are very much alligned to the exam pattern and would help you understand the exact type of questions that you could expect in the examinations

      1. Register your account on https://app.efficientlearning.com/ and use the Official Cetification Guide book for registering. You would be able to access all practice questions and tests from the book. There are more than 500 questions available.

       

      2. Get the below practice sets. These are the best practice sets I could find and are pretty similar to the actual exam pattern, including the type of questions from each topic.
      Google Certified Associate Cloud Engineer Practice Tests

Author :Harshit[email protected]

 

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