What is the Google Cloud?

What is the google cloud? Google cloud refers to servers used to provide on-demand computing resources that are delivered to you over the internet by Google. These computing resources are provided as products/services on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Examples of such services are

  • Compute engine and hosting services
  • Networking services, firewalls, routes
  • Storage and Databases
  • Bigdata services such as data analysis
  • Machine learning
  • and so much more!

Introduction to Google Cloud Platform

This is the introduction to an exhaustive collection of my tutorials and guides on GCP. This will help you get your Associate Cloud Engineer (ACE) certification, and also give you a hands-on experience using the Google cloud platform. I created these tutorials from my most recent video courses on Google Cloud. It is awesome and it really could change your life. This I believe is the only most updated blog that will get you from wherever you are now to passing Google’s Associate Cloud Engineer certification exam.

I included challenge labs, assessment tests and practice exam questions to help you build strong confidence before writing the exam. I also provide support for my subscribers. So if you did, you really have nothing to worry about.

This and other tutorials on this blog are regularly updated to ensure you have all you need to both pass your exam and to use the Google cloud in real life, even if you have little or no experience with the Google Cloud. I have already helped a lot of students pass their Associate Cloud Engineer (ACE) and Professional Cloud Architect (PCA) exams with my tutorials.

My students keep telling me about how learning and getting certified has open so many doors for them. This course could really open doors for you too with the Google cloud because it will help you pass the Google associate cloud engineer exam. I have helped a lot of people already to both the ramp up on GCP (Google Cloud Platform) and to study for their different certification exams.

People want to get certified because it proves that they’ve learned the skills that companies need to run production workloads in the cloud. So, I have designed these tutorials to help you too do that. I’ve put a lot of hard work into it to teach you how to cloud. So, are you ready to get started? Let’s learn a few things about Google certification exams first.

How’s Google Certification Exams Different from Amazon’s?

Google certification exams tend to dig quite a bit deeper into how the systems work but they’re not quite as broad, partly because their cloud itself is not as broad as Amazon’s actually. AWS (Amazon Web Services) seems to make a new service for everything anyone requests and that can sometimes be a good thing. But Google tends to be more deliberate about trying to keep the whole platform really cohesive.

The main thing that people struggle with is that the ACE exam, even more than the others, really tests whether people actually know what’s going on in their systems to be able to troubleshoot cloud systems. You need to understand how the data flows around in the system. That’s why I put a lot of emphasis in this book on breaking down those data flows, and I’ve heard people really loved data flow sections in particular.

I think the reason why people find them so impactful is because they’re often working so hard to learn lots of stuff that they sometimes forget to step back and look at why and how it all comes together. But that’s what really matters in the end: no one really cares whether you know answers to questions on an exam; they care whether you know what to do with real systems in real life. Actually, a lot of people do want to get their PCA and they see that ACE is actually a great stepping stone to get there.

How Much Overlap Between ACE and PCA?

How much overlap is there between the two? Well ACE has a bit more emphasis on running systems and command line access, while the PCA has more emphasis on business analysis and tradeoffs. But both of them share the same fundamental perspective:  first, you need to understand how things work at a pretty deep level and second, you need to have built some things hands on.

That’s definitely something we both must agree on. You need to get your hands dirty in order to learn these things properly. Absolutely. That’s why I give my students lots of homework to do. That is why I created “challenge labs” where students need to work through some of the problems on their own to get real life experiences.

I get lots of feedback that my students find those labs really helpful because it locks in what they’ve learned. Actually, I think the biggest reason why so many of my students go on to pass the PCA not long after taking the ACE exam is because of how they go through my tutorials.

I want you to spend almost no time trying to remember stuff. Instead, I want you to succeed because you understand it so well that you can just naturally think through the scenarios that you face.

What You Will Learn at the End of This Course

Well, you will lean how the Google cloud is set up and its main services, how you can use it through both the web console and the command line, and every other thing you really need to pass Google’s associate cloud engineer certification exam and work with their cloud as a cloud engineer.

Objectives of This Course

In this course, I’ll answer questions like…

  • How do I properly set up my Google Cloud Platform (GCP) account and projects?
  • How do I set up and use the various GCP services?
  • How can I build a GCP system that I or someone else has already designed?
  • How can I get certified by Google as an Associate Cloud Engineer (ACE)?

Course Structure

To accomplish this, we’ll start off with a quick look at the target – the certification that Google’s defined.

  1. Certification/GCP Overview
  2. GCP Account Setup (Hands on)
  3. GCP Services, including setting them up and getting a feel for them (Hands on)
  4. Exam Preparation

Finally, we’ll circle back on the certification and make sure you have everything you need to pass that exam and get certified. You will definitely get a lot more out of this course if you follow along and don’t just read through. Ideally, you’d use the technique that they often use in medicine, which is, see one, do one, teach one.

For the labs, start off by studying the whole lab through once first. Don’t try to follow along the very first time after you’ve seen how I do it. Then go ahead and try it yourself. Now, it’ll be hard to remember everything that you just learned so you should probably go through it again and again as you’re doing the steps yourself. After that, if you really want to lock in what you’ve learned, find someone to tell about it.

The Key Takeaways

When you finish this course, you should end up with

  • Usable and configured GCP account
  • Good solid understanding of how to use all the key GCP services
  • What you need to know to get certified as an associate cloud engineer

The Prerequisites

Before you dive in, let’s talk for first about prerequisites. The certification exam itself has no prerequisite. Google doesn’t require you to do anything or prove anything before you’re allowed to take this exam. However, if you feel that you want to first learn the fundamentals of cloud computing in general, then check out the the previous tutorial: Cloud Computing Fundamentals.

You could go and sign up for the exam right now. The cost of the exam is $125 USD. Of course, the reason you’re taking this course is probably because you want to be ready for that exam when you do take it. So, in terms of taking this course, one thing that you should know is that you’ll need a credit card to setup your GCP account.

If you leave that account as a trial account you won’t get charged at all. But Google still requires you to put in a credit card for their own verification. Another thing you’ll need is a computer to connect to GCP itself and to the VMs (virtual machines) that we’ll be using. Really any operating system would be just fine, even a Chromebook. But you’d have trouble if you tried to do everything on just a mobile phone.

What You Should Know about Google Cloud Certification Exams

You have 120 minutes to complete 50 questions. Google Cloud recently joined the online exam party. In fact, in April 2020, Google announced that exams for the Associate Cloud Engineer and Professional Cloud Architect certifications would be offered online. This is the first time Google is offering their GCP exams outside of testing centers.

The Google Cloud Certification online exams are currently available in English and Japanese only. All the questions are multiple choice, with 4 or 5 options. Some are multiple response questions, so you need to select all answers correctly to get the points for those questions. If you are provided five check boxes and asked to choose two answers out of five, you must select the two correct answers. There are no ‘true’ and ‘false’ questions.


Another thing I should point out is that Google actually has a fairly similar certification system to AWS (Amazon Web Services). In particular, both Google and Amazon certifications require that you have strong mental models of how the platforms work. So, if you’re not right now saying, well of course that’s the only way to learn effectively, then you’d probably get a lot of value out of going through that.

Now something to call out though is that you really don’t need any AWS experience at all. You also don’t need any previous experience of learning GCP either. Don’t worry if you don’t know AWS. It could help but it’s really not necessary for this course. But speaking of this, let’s take a quick look at your (the student’s) background.

Your Background

As I’ve already said, you don’t need any previous experience with GCP or AWS to take this course but there’s no question that you may already have such experience. But there’s a lot more than just those two things, things like, Azure, Kubernetes, or just building distributed systems in general. You may even have experience with things like Linux, the command line or programming in general, etc. Those could all have an impact.

Any one of those things would be an asset to you, including the etc., because that is definitely not a full list. However, none of them is required to be able to take this course. You might have no experience with any of them and that’s okay. But I wanted to mention them because I think they’ll help you better understand how I’ve designed this course.

My Course Design Principles

In particular there are two key principles that I try to always follow. I really respect your time so I want this course to be as efficient as possible. I want you to learn what you need to learn but I don’t want you to waste hours and hours on stuff that isn’t important. This was actually one of the critical factors in my decision to use this course.

A few months ago, I was comparing this course to a course I bought from other providers, and I had to ask myself, is it more valuable than those other courses? Are they just going to be wasting my time? It turned out that my course was just really efficient. So, I was really happy with my decision to use my course to create these tutorials.

Now, at the same time, I want this course to be really accessible. I want you to be able to follow along with it and learn what you need to learn regardless of your background. Now if I were designing this course for only you by yourself then it would actually be pretty easy to make sure that it is both efficient and accessible. I would figure out where you are at and I would teach you all and only the things that you would need to know.

But given the very wide range of students that I have taking this course, these two things are in a bit of contention. But that’s OK too. It just means that you will have to approach this course a little bit differently than if this were a one on one tutoring.

You need to take an active role in making sure that you’re learning the things that we’re covering. Let me explain. At the start of this course, I’ll go into a lot more detail and demonstrate a lot more things. But as we move along, I’ll expect you to practice the things you’ve already learned outside of this course and join up with me for the labs by the end of this course.

You’ll be able to do a lot more independently. You’ll be able to work through the homework I give you and you’ll be able to choose from the hundreds of available code labs to fill in the gaps in your understanding. You’ll go through our exams and be shown what you are missing. So, you can spend your time studying what matters most to you.

Now if you come with a very strong background, for example if you’ve already been working with all of the things I listed in section 1.3.5, this should make for a very efficient way for you to get ramped up. You may even want to increase your study speed though I don’t recommend that you completely skip any of the sections.

But if you are at the opposite just-getting-started-end of the spectrum, you will definitely need to work harder at this but it should still be accessible. You will need to go more slowly, maybe read more of the resources from the links I provided, repeat more of what you go through, both on tutorials  and labs, and ask more questions. This is fine. This course is also designed to accommodate you.

You may also have a unique background, for example, you may have mastered Microsoft Azure, or you may be someone who has been programming for years but this is the first time you’re jumping into the cloud. You could be looking to make a career change entirely. That’s why I think this course will also be very effective for you for the different things we cover. I will try to give you a quick primer on the background stuff you need to know but I won’t go into so much detail on everything that you’ll go crazy if you’re already familiar with that.

I will also point you to additional resources, including a link to download all the screenshots in this book, for follow up so you can quickly ramp up on whatever the things are that you haven’t encountered before. But if I don’t remember to do this for something then just use the support link at the bottom of this book to ask. I or any of my colleagues would be very happy to recommend some additional resources. This leads directly into the next thing that I want to mention now as you go through this course.

I highly recommend that after every lesson you should participate in my students’ discussions by posting comments at the end of each tutorial. This gives you an opportunity to both ask questions and answer them. You don’t even have to be writing something all the time either. You can just read and vote on the other things that other people have been writing.

Now these aren’t face to face discussions like you might have with other students in a classroom but these work on your schedule. If you have a few minutes on a break, go ahead and read a few things. It’ll really help you learn things if you talk about what you’re learning with other people.

You can also share my tutorials on social media using the links I provided on this blog. I have provided many resources so you have something to read on your phone or tablet when you’re standing in line at the grocery store or wherever. You should always be able to get to the same link from the resources section for that particular lecture.

Now that I have answered the earlier question, what is the google cloud, let’s first move on to the path to certification before we dive into the Google Cloud Platform itself. If you have any questions already please let me know in the comment box below or use the contact form. If not please join me in the next section.

Leave a Comment