March 4, 2024 • 5 min read

GCP Associate Cloud Engineer: A Guide to First-Time Success

Rédigé par Anna Berger

Anna Berger

In this guide, I will delve into the Associate Cloud Engineer Certification provided by the Google Cloud Platform. I’ll cover everything you need to ensure your success : insights into the benefits, the GCP certification process and the best resources to prepare.

GCP Associate Cloud Engineer: A Must-Have for Data Professionals

Mastering GCP Fundamentals

The Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is a comprehensive cloud-based platform that provides a wide range of computing services. The platform empowers users to build, deploy and scale applications and services seamlessly on Google’s infrastructure. GCP is designed to be flexible, scalable and highly reliable for its users.

On a global scale, GCP competes directly with major counterparts such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. One distinctive feature setting GCP apart is its commitment to environmental sustainability. Among the Big Three cloud providers, GCP stands out as the cleanest, by ensuring that all data processed by Google Cloud achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

To learn more, discover Carbon Footprint Monitoring for your Cloud project

At Sicara, we've established a strategic partnership with GCP to deliver optimal performance for our data apps while aligning with GCP's commitment to sustainability.

Why Getting Certified Matters

The GCP Associate Cloud Engineer Certification explores the core concepts of Google Cloud, in particular the deployment of cloud applications and operation monitoring. It validates a comprehensive understanding of the following key GCP services : Compute Engine, App Engine, Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), Cloud Storage, BigQuery, Cloud Spanner, Cloud Identity and Access Management (IAM), Cloud Monitoring and Networking Services.

Overview of the main GCP services covered by the certification

Becoming a certified GCP Cloud Engineer Associate grants a validation of your proficiency in Google Cloud. The surging demand for cloud computing professionals underlines the importance of being accredited, allowing individuals to stay up to date on GCP developments and to adapt swiftly to new features.

Google reports that 78% of Google Cloud-certified individuals feel more confident in their professional future, and 82% feel like they can prove their cloud skill competency to recruiters. (survey conducted in Feb. 2020 for Google by an Independent Third Party Research Organization).

Get Familiar with the Certification Process

GCP offers three levels of certification : Foundational, Associate and Professional. Those who deeply understand GCP features and have several years of experience with GCP should aim for a Professional certification.

This guide focuses on the GCP Cloud Engineer Associate Certification, a good intermediate choice for professionals who have a bit of experience with GCP. The 2-hour certification exam is made of 50 multiple-choice questions that cover the following topics :

Set up a cloud solution environment
Plan and configure a cloud solution
Deploy and implement a cloud solution
Ensure the successful operation of a cloud solution
Configure access and security

You can book your exam slot on Webassessor, Google’s official certification site. The exam costs US$125 plus an additional US$25 in taxes. If there is a testing site available close to you, I recommend taking the exam onsite to ensure the whole process goes smoothly. Otherwise, make sure that you have a quiet and distraction-free environment while taking the test.

Getting prepared for the GCP Associate Cloud Engineer certification

Effective Resources for Preparation

Preparation is key to success. There's a lot of content available online for the GCP Associate Cloud Engineer Certification : let’s first sort it out and choose training courses that suit your level of expertise and needs.

Assess your current understanding level

If you already have significant experience with GCP, you may start with this comprehensive guide provided by Google : Preparing for Your Associate Cloud Engineer Journey. It gives you sets of diagnostic questions for each topic, so that you can evaluate your current knowledge.

Get started with training courses

  • Google Cloud’s Cloud Engineer Learning Path gives a very comprehensive overview and provides you with hands-on labs with ready-to-use setups. However, it is very time-consuming (100+ hours of courses!). I would recommend it only if you have a lot of time or need to dive deeper into a specific topic
  • I recommend instead Udemy’s GCP Associate Cloud Engineer - Google Cloud Certification. It includes 18 hours of video courses with everything you need to know, including many live demonstrations.

Get hands-on experience with GCP

Most importantly, you will need hands-on experience throughout your preparation! Did you know that Google Cloud offers a 90-day trial with US$300 free credits? If you’re new to the Google Cloud Platform, create an account and get started now.

Look for exam question samples

  • Google provides you with a set of 20 Associate Cloud Engineer Sample Questions. These are great to familiarize yourself with the exam format and content that can be covered. Each answer is very well-explained
  • This website provides an additional 50 questions with comprehensive corrections as well
  • Hundreds of example questions can also be found on Exam Topics, however the answers provided by the website are not always right. For each question, you may have to check community votes and seek further explanations to ensure that you got the right answer. Good to know : Only the first half of questions are free

See also

GCP storage services cheatsheet
Cheat sheet : Find the right GCP storage service

Optimize Your Preparation Journey

To enhance your preparation, it's crucial to implement effective strategies that promote efficient learning. Here are some key tips to optimize your study routine.

Take notes!!

One of the most effective habits you can develop is taking notes during your study sessions. Notes help you to structure your learnings, but above all, they encourage focus and active thought processing. Consider using a physical notebook for a tangible connection with your notes, or leverage digital note-taking tools such as Notion, a free and versatile platform.

Create your own study plan

Creating a personalized study roadmap is essential for effective time management and focused learning. Allocate time for each topic and establish milestones to track your progress. Your study plan will depend on your skills and on the time you can allocate each week.

My personal study plan for the GCP Cloud Associate Engineer certification involved :

  • Searching useful content and planning my training ~1h
  • Watching online courses to focus on the core concepts, and for each of them doing the associated labs ~24h
  • Training on exam questions ~8h

Remember : Regularity is key. If you don’t have a full week to dedicate to this certification, it’s better to study 30 min each day than cram for 5 hours every 2 weeks.

Additional tips

When practicing sample questions of mock exams, consider adopting a two-pass-approach. In the first pass, aim to answer questions quickly, and set aside the ones you're confident about. In the second pass, revisit the most challenging questions and allocate additional time for careful analysis.

Rather than passively consuming content, actively engage with the material. Take notes and experiment with hands-on labs and real-world scenarios. Maintaining consistency and dedication is crucial, so stay focused on your goals and adapt your study plan as needed. Good luck!

Looking for another certification? Check out this Snowflake Certification Guide

Time To Get Certified!

Now that you’re feeling ready and that your exam slot is booked, let’s see what to expect on the exam day.

Mental preparation

On the day of the exam, arrive at the testing center or log in for the online exam well in advance to minimize stress. Trust the knowledge you've acquired during your preparation, and avoid trying to cram new information at the last minute.

How to tackle exam questions

Regarding the exam itself, read each question carefully, paying careful attention to details. Some questions are tricky and will look very similar to others you’ve seen. 2h is more than enough, so truly take your time. If a question seems difficult, you can use the “mark for review” feature from the exam and come back to it later.

Receiving your certificate

Once you've completed the exam, you'll receive a preliminary result indicating whether you've passed or failed. The passing threshold is typically 70%. Keep in mind that this result is provisional and needs to be confirmed by Google Cloud, so your certificate should arrive in 7-10 days.

GCP cloud engineer associate certification badge
Proudly display your certification badge!

Congrats, your certification is valid for three years, so be sure to proudly add it to your skills and update your professional profiles.

As you celebrate this accomplishment, consider that it's just the start of your journey on GCP : what about preparing a Professional certification next time to validate deeper expertise?

Are you looking for help on GCP? Don't hesitate to contact us! Our team of GCP experts is available to assist and guide you through your data journey.

Cet article a été écrit par

Anna Berger

Anna Berger