Google Cloud Certification Exam Guide

In this Google Cloud certification exam guide, we’re going to take a look at the exam guide or blueprint that Google has written to tell us all about their certification exam. Now wait. In case you’re a person who really only cares about learning GCP and doesn’t care about the exam or certification. Just hear me out please.

The purpose of this exam guide is not only Google’s statement of what’s most important to a person who wants to pass this certification exam. It’s more than that. It is also Google’s statement of what’s most important to a person who’s working in the field as a cloud engineer.

The Google certification team has gone through a lot of effort to understand what it is that cloud engineers actually do. What they found forms the basis of this certification exam. So, what that means is that this exam guide defines the scope of the role first and that then became the scope of the exam. Because we’re using Google’s insight of what’s most important, this defines the scope of this course as well.

Google’s Job Role Description

Let’s first take a look at the job role description that they’ve given us. They say…

Google's job role description
Fig 1.1: Google’s job role description

Now this looks a lot like a job posting that you might come across. Of course, it should. Google designs their certifications to match real world roles. But this is a lot of words. So, let’s break it down.

Job Role Highlights

They say you, the associate cloud engineer, deploys applications. This means you take the source code and make it available by running it so that the end users can actually use the system.

But you don’t just put it into production, you also monitor the operation of multiple projects going on at the same time.

However, you’re not just watching things either, you’re also maintaining things to ensure that they meet the target performance metrics. If things start failing, you’ll definitely try to fix it. But this also talks about if things are getting too slow or what not.

Google's Job role highlights
Fig 1.1.1: Job role highlights

You should also have experience working with public cloud and on-premises (usually abbreviated as on-prem) solutions. That’s an interesting thing to note in a certification that’s all about the Google Cloud Platform right now. This could refer to either fully on-prem situations or hybrid ones. But I think the key thing to focus on is that there are a lot of tools that aren’t necessarily cloud specific and there are situations that you need to think about more than just the cloud itself.

Continuing on, Google calls out that you do need to be able to use the Google cloud console. But if you don’t know how to use the command line interface you don’t meet the requirements here. So, I’ll include both of them in this course.

They say you need to be able to perform common platform-based tasks. This is fairly general but we’ll get into more details later. This is the same thing when they are talking about maintaining one or more deployed solutions but this time, they tie it to leveraging services on the Google cloud.

Now after this introduction section they continue to break the entire exam scope down into sections.

Overview of the Google Cloud Certification Exam Sections (aka “Domain”)

These are sometimes referred to as exam domains. There are 5 of them.

The 5 GCP exam domains
Fig 1.2: The 5 exam domains

Now the exam guide breaks each of these sections down into sub points as explained below, and then further offers example tasks for each of those sub points. In the following sections, we’re going to take a look at the sub points and some of the example tasks.

I do highly recommend that you go and read through the entire exam guide yourself. The sooner the better really. But you’ll definitely also want to read it several times over as you’re approaching your exam.

Section 1: Setting up a cloud solution environment

This section is broken apart into setting up cloud projects and accounts, managing billing configuration, installing and configuring the command line interface (CLI). This is really about getting everything going, making sure that you’re following best practices, and then you can start something from scratch. This is also where we’ll start in this course so that you have an account you can use set up for all of the labs.

Section 2: Planning and configuring a cloud solution

Section 2 involves making sure that you know what you’re going to do. Planning and estimating a GCP product using the pricing calculator is an important thing to be able to do. If you’re comparing a couple of options, you’ll definitely want to know how much each of them is going to cost you, right?

Of course, to be able to plan or estimate any particular system you’ll need to understand how to use the different options you have available for compute, data storage and networking. These are the 3 critical components to data flows, and of course that’s what every system is. In this course we’re going to get our hands dirty by using the different services.

Section 3: Deploying and implementing a cloud solution

This section is about deploying and implementing the solutions that you have. You have to be able to put stuff into the compute engine, get the machines up and running, get all the code onto it, maintain it. Of course, you have to configure all the attached resources like desks, and deal with managing snapshots.

You also need to know how to be able to use Kubernetes Engine, how to set up the clusters, how to deploy services, deal with load balancing and stuff like that. But those aren’t the only thing. App Engine and Cloud Functions are also quite important. You’ll need to know how to use things like App Engine flex to deploy your own containers or connect Cloud Functions to different triggers- triggers like data services. This data solutions section includes a number of different services, and of course you’ll connect everything together using the networking stuff.

Now this is all well and good of course. You could potentially do all of these things manually in the console but since we’re looking at what a cloud engineer would do in practice, there’s got to be automation. That’s why we’d be looking at things like Cloud Launcher, Deployment Manager, and of course, the command line interface that I already mentioned.

Section 4: Ensuring successful operation of a cloud solution

Now once you’ve got something deployed and running, you need to make sure that it’s operating successfully. That includes managing the compute engine resources, the Kubernetes Engine resources, the App Engine resources, the data solutions we’ve set up and all the networking we’ve used to connect it all together.

But practically speaking, what does “managing” mean? It means that you’re going to have to be monitoring, logging, and then taking action.

Section 5: Configuring access and security

The final section in the exam guide is configuring access and security. Now it’s not really possible to do anything in GCP without touching the IAM (Identity and Access Management) stuff. Of course, the easiest thing to do would be to just give everything full control. But that’s a very bad idea. So, we’re going to cover how you can make things a lot more granular. You really want to set things up to use the least privilege that they absolutely need.

One of the tools we have to help with that is service accounts. But Access and Security isn’t just about setting something up and hoping it works. We also have the responsibility to make sure that things are working properly, and that’s where audit logging comes in. Of course, that also ties into stuff like compliance.

I hope this gives you a bit of a sense for what we’re going to be going through in this course, and what will be expected of you when you take the actual certification exam. Feel free to read through the entire exam guide at any time so that you can see what the specific tasks are that they give as examples.

That about covers the Google Cloud certification exam. In the next section of the GCP course, and we’re now going to dive right into GCP. So, if you have any questions please let me know in the comment box below or use the contact form. If not please feel free to move on to the next section.

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