If you’re thinking of getting a GCP cert, this is the time to do it. Architects are high in demand, and Google certs may help you in your career. But can they be easy enough to justify your time investment?
In general, some Google Cloud certs can be quite easy to pass, but others may stagger you. While getting a CDL (Cloud Digital Leader) is a piece of cake for many, passing an ACE (Associate Cloud Engineer) may surprise you in its difficulty. The professional ones can take a while to study and prepare.
Preparation is key and all Google Cloud certs can be finished relatively quickly with the right focus and resources mentioned below.
How Difficult Are Google Cloud Certifications: Beginners and Experienced
Google Cloud certifications can be quite challenging for beginners, especially when starting with the Associate Cloud Engineer (ACE) certification. The required knowledge is extensive, and gaining experience to pass the exams takes time.
However, with self-discipline and dedication, it is possible to pass beginner-level exams, which may help secure a job in the cloud industry.
For experienced professionals, obtaining Google Cloud certifications becomes easier with hands-on experience across various cloud services, such as GCP, AWS, or Azure.
Those with several years of experience may still need to allocate at least a week for preparation. The key to success is identifying the relevant study materials and focusing on the right topics.
Which Google Cloud Certification Is Best for Beginners?
Associate certifications are the ideal starting point for beginners, as they focus on fundamental skills required for working with the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). The specific certificate you pursue will depend on your chosen path and role.
The Associate Cloud Engineer (ACE) is a highly recommended entry-level certification for those new to GCP. This beginner-friendly certification does not involve any coding, and the exam consists of multiple-choice questions. While prior experience may be helpful, it is not mandatory to pass the test.
For individuals in non-technical roles who need to understand the basics of working with GCP, the Google Cloud Digital Leader certification is an excellent choice. This certification is relatively easier compared to other options and provides a solid foundation in the fundamentals of working with Google Cloud.
How to Prepare for Google Cloud Certification?
There are many resources you can use to train and prepare for many of the GCP certification exams. Most of them can prepare you fully to pass the tests if you apply yourself genuinely. Here are some of the best ones for several of the most popular Google Cloud certs you can get.
For the Associate Cloud Engineer exam, the best resources include:
- Dan Sullivan’s Official Google Cloud Certified ACE Study Guide
- These Coursera courses:
- This YouTube playlist by AwesomeGCP (Sathish VJ):
- Udemy Google Cloud Associate Cloud Engineer Practice Tests
- Google Cloud Skills Boost courses:
- Here’s a git repo with many other resources for passing the ACE cert
For passing the Cloud Digital Leader exam, the best resources include:
- Coursera courses:
- Google Cloud Digital Leader Training Professional Certificate (exam is basically what’s in the video)
- Google Cloud Fundamentals: Core Infrastructure (this and the one above, and you’re ready to go)
- Google Courses on the CDL learning path
- This YouTube course from FreeCodeCamp:
- Udemy Course: GCP for Beginners – Become a Google Cloud Digital Leader
These are some of the best, but not the only resources out there to pass these two beginner-level exams. Coursera courses in particular are among the best ones out there, and pretty much give you all the necessary information you’ll need to pass the exams.
What Are the Exam Formats for Google Cloud Certifications?
Google Cloud certifications typically follow two main formats: multiple-choice questions and hands-on labs.
Multiple-choice questions assess your understanding of concepts, best practices, and real-world scenarios. Hands-on labs, on the other hand, test your practical skills in implementing, configuring, and troubleshooting various Google Cloud services.
Some exams may also include case studies, requiring you to apply your knowledge to specific business problems.
It is important to note that exams are timed, and the duration varies depending on the certification. Generally, you can expect 2-3 hours for most exams. To ensure success, be sure to familiarize yourself with the specific exam format and practice with hands-on labs and sample questions.
How Long to Finish Google Cloud Certification: Experienced vs Beginners?
Depending on which Google Cloud Certification you’re preparing for and your level of experience, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few months to study and pass the exams.
For beginners with little knowledge and experience in Azure, GCP, or AWS, it can take anywhere between a few weeks and two months to study and finish the Associate Cloud Engineer Certification. CDL cert should take less, a few weeks up to a month.
Experienced professionals have various paths and can take many different certs. The time it takes to pass these exams will vary based on experience. Those with a few years of experience in Azure, GCP, or AWS should take no more than a week or two of studying to pass the ACE exam. That’s around 20 to 30 hours at most.
With 3+ experience in GCP, it shouldn’t take more than a month of studying for the Google Cloud Architect certification, and the same can be said for Google Cloud Developer and the Cloud DevOps Engineer certification.
Which Google Cloud Certification Is the Easiest?
The easiest Google Cloud certification is the Cloud Digital Leader cert. Cloud Digital Leader requires less knowledge in tech and is designed for people in non-technical roles.
If you are in a technical role then this certification should be the easiest one for you. Many people who are in tech roles can pass this without much studying.
For some people, the Professional Cloud Architect can also be one of the easiest ones, because it’s mostly theory and design-focused.
This exam focuses on your understanding of when and where to utilize each product and you can learn this simply by reading all the product pages. However, before that, you should probably read the exam guide as well as the case studies. This is usually enough to try and take the practice exams to get an idea of how you’d do at the real exam.
Benefits of Obtaining Google Cloud Certifications
Obtaining Google Cloud certifications comes with several advantages:
- Increased credibility. Certifications validate your skills and knowledge in Google Cloud, making you a more credible candidate for job opportunities and promotions.
- Enhanced skill set. Preparing for the exams enhances your expertise in the Google Cloud ecosystem, helping you stay relevant and competitive in the job market.
- Networking opportunities. Being part of the certified professionals community connects you with like-minded individuals, expanding your professional network.
- Higher earning potential. Certified professionals often enjoy higher salaries compared to their non-certified counterparts.
- Employer benefits. Many organizations prefer certified professionals as they can better leverage Google Cloud services, resulting in cost savings and more efficient operations.
By obtaining Google Cloud certifications, you not only demonstrate your commitment to professional growth, but you also position yourself as a valuable asset in the ever-evolving cloud industry.
How Much Does Google Cloud Certification Cost?
Most Google Cloud certifications are priced at $200, with the exception of the Associate Cloud Engineer, which costs $125. Beta certification exams are available for a limited time at a discounted price of $120.
Which Google Cloud Certification Is the Hardest?
Professional ML Engineer is considered one of the most difficult certs to get in Google Cloud. The content is very extensive, and it’s definitely not for beginners, as it requires a wealth of experience with designing and building ML models by using Google Cloud to achieve those tasks.
You can use this Google sheet as a resource to study for this certification. It’s under the tab “data engineer” and contains courses you can use to prepare for passing this certification. Alternatively, use this git repo for the most helpful resources in various forms.
What Is the Google Cloud Recertification Process?
Google Cloud certifications are valid for two years. To recertify, retake and pass the same or a higher-level exam within the same job role before the certification expires. Recertification ensures skills stay current with the latest Google Cloud technologies and best practices.