Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect

Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect

Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect

What Does it Take to Become a Professional Cloud Architect for Google Cloud?

The Starting Point

It all started when Priceline embarked on their GCP adventure (Google Cloud Platform). I was a cloud newbie with a lot of complex notions. I had a basic understanding of AWS because it was the cloud platform utilized by the majority of my professional network contacts, but I greatly missed the targeted specialty. Fortunately, I was able to participate in the early conversations with 12 Factor standards and work with the organization’s executives, which greatly aided my comprehension.

Things started to become hard as we got into the real hands-on implementation. In the arena, there was a lot of uncertainty.

  • Inadequate terminology for describing needs: Because the whole firm was embarking on the cloud journey at the same time, there was some uncertainty at first about how to define requirements using the correct cloud vocabulary.
  • Selecting a database for a cloud-native application: This was a difficult task because GCP provided different options depending on the kind and usage of the data.
  • • GCP in the dark: When we request GCP resources like databases, cloud storage, and so on, we only have a rudimentary awareness of access control, networking, and so on. As a developer, this gave some abstraction so that I could concentrate on the work at hand, but I was still intrigued about how things were done.

The Final Decision

I continued finding internet sites leading to GCP certifications as I began my investigation to clarify needs and better comprehend ideas.

To some extent, the purpose of a GCP certification is to guarantee that we have a thorough grasp of how GCP and its resources work so that we can make more informed decisions about how to use them. I gradually realized that working on a certification will help me have a better grasp of cloud architecture in general, not just GCP. As a result, in mid-October 2020, I decided to begin studying for the GCP Professional Cloud Architect test.

Prior to the Online Examination


To begin, you must first register for the test. The site was a little strange at first, but I eventually got used to it.

You can reschedule your test until 72 hours before the exam without incurring any additional expenses. A fee may be charged after that. An excellent method is to book your exam ahead of time and take the Google practice test a week or two before the exam. Continue with the date if you are confident in the results; otherwise, postpone. The cost of registration is $200.

New Online Exam Format

During the pandemic, the Remote Exam was created to replace the onsite tests. I chose a 9:00 a.m. Sunday slot so that I could study for half of the weekend and still have a weekend day following the exam.

Installation of Exam Software

This is a crucial and time-consuming phase. To begin the exam, you must first install the Sentinel programmed. This programmed will take over your computer once it has been run, and you will be unable to access any other programmed. Before the exam, it’s a good idea to turn off all of your apps. It also requests that you take an image, which will be used to verify your identity prior to the exam. I did this the day before the exam, wasting time that should have been used studying for the exam. Install the programmed as soon as possible.

Make Some Room

The exam room and computer desk must be cleared for GCP tests. You are only allowed to bring your water bottle and your government ID. I found it simpler to take the exam in a space other than my home office since it was easier to clear. Make sure the room is ready for the exam, with nothing on the table, floor, or walls. It is preferable to have a mirror on hand.

The Scanning

10 minutes before the scheduled time, the test becomes available. Scanning your face and then the room is the first step. After you’ve finished the pre-screening stages, an agent will come online and message you through a chat window. If the camera and microphone aren’t turned on yet, the agent will request that they be turned on before scanning the government ID. The next step is to walk carefully around the space, pointing out all of the walls, corners, ceilings, and floors. The agent may ask questions depending on what they saw, but in my instance, no such inquiries were asked. The agent will send you a message with the following steps. I heard elsewhere that they could also talk straight to you instead of messaging, so don’t be surprised. Finally, using a mirror, reveal the back of the laptop as well as the screen. This is to ensure there are no notes on the screen or elsewhere on the laptop. For the duration of the exam, you must keep the camera and microphone turned on.

It took around 20 minutes to complete the process. After this, there was again another wait before the test could begin. I’m not sure whether this is to be anticipated, but all of these delays were a little too much for me. It took around 30 minutes from the start of the exam to the commencement of the exam. Fortunately, once the exam began, I focused solely on the exam and almost completely forgot about the pre-verification process.

The Exam

The exam is 50 questions long and takes two hours to finish. Although Google does not provide an official pass grade for the GCPCA test, multiple sources claim that an 80 percent success rate is required. The actual score or any other specifics regarding the performance will not be revealed in the results.

The questions were structured similarly to the practice questions provided by Google and other sources. Each question has four possible answers. The question will specify how many correct answers are available. You may either answer the questions right now or save them to come back to later. Before the final submission, the answers can be altered.

Carefully read each question and, more crucially, the response options. Often, the distinction between options is only a few words, such as resource capacity, regional vs. zonal, database kinds, access roles, and so on.

The Result

It might take up to seven days for the official outcome to be released. Fortunately, you will receive a provisional result immediately after submitting your application. And, yeah, I was successful! As previously stated, test takers will not get any information about their performance or score, and the result displayed immediately following the exam is provisional. Before the official result is released, Google does certain evaluations. I received an official email from Google two days later with the result and a link to obtain the digital certificate. You’ll also gain credits to use in the Google Cloud Certification Perk store to purchase specific products. I decided on a laptop bag in the end.

The Next Steps

My route to professional cloud certification was amazing in retrospect. I’ve always been interested in system design and architecture, and I’m still a huge admirer of books like Uncle Bob’s Clean Architecture, but the test preparation gave me a fresh perspective on the subject. I used to focus just on the best technical solution, but the exam forced me to reconsider my strategy and analyze the needs from a business, functional, and technological standpoint. Case studies from GCP are a fantastic illustration of this.

I also learnt that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and that the best software design achieves a compromise between cost, performance, and deadline goals.

Another eye-opener was the finding of a slew of identical challenges and solutions/patterns that can be found across platforms. The use cases that Google Pub-Sub assists with, for example, may also be handled by AWS Kinesis or Azure Event Hub in those systems. Apache Kafka or RabbitMQ can support this in a non-cloud context. Indeed, Google made it explicit in their test aim that the goal is to obtain understanding of the cloud domain as a whole, not simply GCP.


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