Google Cloud Certified Cloud Architect – Beta Exam Report

This blog article picks up from Google Cloud Certified Data Engineer – Beta Exam Report and is a similar report but for the Certified Cloud Architect exam.  Priocept consultants have recently been participating in the beta certification exams for Google Cloud Platform, but access to training material and sample questions for these exams is currently quite limited.  To help you prepare, here is an overview of our experience of the Cloud Architect exam.

General

A significant part of the exam is case study based.  You are required to read a one-page case study that describes a company’s business operation, requirements, and motivations for moving to Google Cloud Platform (GCP).  Then you are asked a set of questions about how you should architect a GCP solution to meet the requirements, and how you should migrate the existing legacy (on premise) solution, and historic data, to the replacement cloud platform.

These questions are of a fairly general nature and don’t require deep technical expertise in specific GCP products.  But to answer the questions you do need a good understanding of each GCP product, and when it is appropriate to use one product over another.  General software/network architecture experience is also required, but only in a general sense.

Compute Engine

Not as much content on this as we were expecting – only limited references to machine types, pre-emptible instances, instance groups etc.  There were however questions on persistent disks and in particular how you should resize disks for existing instances with minimal service impact.

Google Container Engine

Surprisingly, virtually no questions on this.  We were expecting lots of questions on containerisation, Kubernetes, kubectl, nodes, pods, etc.

Google App Engine

The majority of App Engine question were code-level and for Java.  For example, there are questions that show a runtime App Engine error (Java exception) and ask for the likely cause.  These questions require a good working knowledge of App Engine as a software developer.

Cloud Storage

This product is covered quite extensively in the exam.  Expect questions on the various storage options (Multi-Regional, Regional, Nearline, Coldline) and when to use each of them.  There are also questions on migrating existing legacy (on premise) data to Cloud Storage, which requires a working knowledge of gsutil, gcsfuse and Cloud Transfer Storage Service.

Other Data Products

There were no low-level questions on Datastore, BigQuery or Bigtable, but lots of high-level architecture questions that require an understanding of the relative capability of each product so that you can select the right product for a given scenario.  The same applies to data processing – you should understand the capabilities of Dataflow and Dataproc, and when to use one over the other, but probably won’t get lower level questions on implementing these products, which is the domain of the Data Engineer certification.

Security

Be sure to understand the basic concepts of Identify & Access Management (IAM), and in particular the various roles that are available for each product, and the appropriate least privileged role that should be assigned in a given scenario.  You will also need to understand the distinction between user and service accounts, and how the latter are used by Compute Engine and other resources.   Expect some firewall related security questions as well.

Best Practices

There are some questions on GCP best practice.  Particularly with regard to projects and how these should be used to isolate and secure different environments (for example, using different projects to isolate development, test, staging and production environments).

DevOps

Surprisingly there were some questions relating to “DevOps” and general software development best practice, which as worded were not specific to GCP.  For example, some questions on how to set up continuous integration and continuous delivery, but with no references to particular GCP products.

Deployment Manager

A few questions on this.  Nothing code-level in terms of Deployment Manager templates (YAML/Python), but just general questions about the capability of Deployment Manager, how it is used, and the advantages of doing so.  Assuming you have used Deployment Manager before, these questions should be straightforward.

Summary

As the name implies, the Cloud Architect beta certification exam is more focused on high-level architecture and design, than low-level development and implementation.  The most worthwhile preparation work you can do is to understand each of the GCP products, how they relate to each other, how they compare, and when you should use one over the other.

 

 

11 Comments

  • 1. Kevin Clements

    Thanks for this post – you were one of the only articles I saw on the new Architect cert test. Helped me level set when studying, and I agree with much of what you say here about it

  • 2. Amit Jain

    Are there any online courses available to prepare. Any sample questions ? Also what %age of questions require knowledge of Java and python

  • 3. Administrator

    Hi Amit – no deep Java or Python knowledge is required. There are a few sample questions, but only a very limited number. Best approach is just to start using the product “for real”, and reading the documentation. The YouTube coverage of 300 level sessions at Next 2017 are also informative.

  • 4. Neeraj Sethi

    Based on the experience of your team how much preparation & hands on time is required before attempting for the exam.

  • 5. Muhammad Hamzah

    I am sitting the exam next week. Any suggestions apart from this list?

  • 6. Vishal

    Muhammad,
    Waiting to hear from you about your experience.

  • 7. Nidhi Singh

    Hi,

    I am planning to give the exam next week . Any suggestion on guidance that i need to keep in mind.

  • 8. Alex

    Hi, Is there any slides/documents available for this course ?

  • 9. Mannetjie van Rooyen

    I did the exam today just after passing the Engineer exam.
    Guys this exam is not done fairly at all, I have been a fully qualified developer for over 3 years working in GCP every day of my life.
    17 out of the 50 questions were either totally out of scope or did not give enough information to choose the correct answer.
    Just to add I have been in IT for more than 20 years so it is not like do not have enough experience.
    Studdy EVERYTHING and then just hope and pray you get the luck of the draw

  • 10. JH

    Thanks for the review. It was fair and close to what i saw.. I have to say that was the most poorly written exam i ever took .. (I hold over 75 certifications) The exam clearly was rushed and Google placed not investment into the exam. Like they sat a buch of tired employees in the room after 5pm and asked them to make up questions… Also you have to use the worst testing proctor ever called Kryterion.. Google was so cheap they could not use Pearson or Prometric which have plenty of locations to take the exam.. AWS is ten times more professional.

  • 11. Enas A. Sharaf

    Hi,
    Thanks for this valuable post.

    I would appreciate if you can let me know the following:

    1- How many question in Beta and non Beta exam and is the time enough to complete the exam comfortably?

    2- Are there sample questions/exam with answers for training?

    3- What about Coursera and Cloud academy courses, are there useful and helpful for preparation?

    Looking forward hearing from you soon.

    Thanks in advance!

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