The google cloud associate engineer is the only associate-level exam offered by google cloud as of writing this and also one of the most challenging cloud certifications out there.
I sat for my certification exam in October 2022 and passed which I was very happy about after following certain strategies I should also give you.
How I got my associate cloud engineer certification for free.
After clearing my AWS cloud practitioner exam earlier in 2022 I was already preparing for my solutions architect associate exam when I found casually while browsing on Twitter a post about a challenge by google cloud where a learner would get a free exam voucher if they passed the required skill badges in 10 weeks.
I decided to give it a try paused my solutions architect exam prep and embarked on this challenge.
The skill badges are sent out on a weekly basis where you will get lessons and labs assigned for that week.
The challenge is to finish the required skill badges in 10 weeks which looks like a long time but it actually isn’t. Some labs are fairly easy but some will be challenging, good thing is there is a robust support system at your service provided by quick labs.
The automating infrastructure on google cloud with terraform and Kubernetes challenge labs were no walk in the park but I managed.
After six weeks of completing the skill badges I sent an email to quick labs and they sent me an exam voucher.
As of 2023, the quick lab’s policies have changed a little to where they no longer give free exam vouchers to non-partners sought of unfair but worry not follow me on Twitter where I will be constantly informing you when free exam vouchers will be available again.
Why the cloud skill boost partner route is the best
The thing with cloud computing or any technical course is that theory alone won’t make you good at performing a task. You can know everything there is to storage theoretically but you will only fully understand the ins and outs after you have created a cloud storage bucket either on the console or on the command line.
Partner skill boost gives you access to numerous labs where you will perform various tasks making you a better engineer. If you fear the command line as I did when I began you will come to find out that most of the functions are actually performed on the command line and not the console. the good thing is that most of the introductory labs are actually free.
How I actually aced my associate level exam
As I wrote in my previous post how I passed AZ-900 in 2 weeks. To adequately prepare and pass any certification you need to prepare with over 500 practice questions. examtopics questions helped a lot in my prep also bought the associate cloud engineer exam practice book this books from amazon and the jack hyman associate cloud engineer exam guide all of which had well-thought-out revision questions with clear explanations. if you want a deep dive and want to build a career in google cloud I would suggest you get the Dan Sullivan associate cloud engineer study guide it’s clear and very concise in explanations.
How to prepare a practical study guide that guarantees success
There are 5 topics that if you concreate upon you will ace the cert
Compute engine-read about managed and unmanaged instance groups compute engine storage options preemptible VMs and which use cases warrant their use.
Billing – you will not miss a question related to billing be knowledgeable on budgets and alerts reports billing export, and how billing works
IAM/resource hierarchy-you should not assign roles to individual users. Users should be added to groups and groups assigned roles to simplify permissions management (critical) know about types of roles primitive, predefined & custom and how to enforce the principle of least privilege.
GCP services -read on GCP serverless options like app engine, cloud run, and cloud functions and how they differ. also, check on GCP managed services
Databases-there are SQL and NoSQL databases offerings by GCP you should know them well. NOSQL options are datastore and cloud firestore which are managed document databases that scale globally, and Bigtable is a wide-column database for low latency and petabyte scale.
Relational databases are Cloud SQL and cloud spanner. Cloud spanner is a global petabyte-scale database that scales horizontally, while cloud SQL scales up to 64 TB and is regional.
Bigquery is a data warehouse that scales horizontally.
GKE-to understand this topic comfortably I would advise you to perform labs to understand pods, nodes, replica sets, cluster IP deployments etc. Also, practice command prompts related to GKE.
Additional in networking read on types of load balancers networks model.
A full list of the associate cloud engineer is provided by google here.