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A guide to Google’s Professional Cloud Developer certification

Tim Berry
Tim Berry

Professional cloud developer skills are in demand — and rightfully so. Enterprises are spending more on cloud-based infrastructure than traditional IT, and most engineers are refreshing their skills to learn how to build systems in cloud environments. But what about building the applications that will run in those cloud environments?

The benefits of cloud infrastructure present an interesting set of challenges for application design as we move from monolithic legacy IT to distributed cloud architectures.

What is a Professional Cloud Developer?

A Professional Cloud Developer understands the principles of cloud-native software design and can build, test and deploy applications using best practices for scalability, reliability, and security.

For developers working with Google Cloud Platform, the Professional Cloud Developer certification proves that you are at the cutting edge of cloud-native development, and will place you ahead of your peers in the competitive cloud developer job market.

As Google puts it:

“A Professional Cloud Developer builds scalable and highly available applications using Google-recommended practices and tools. This individual has experience with cloud-native applications, developer tools, managed services, and next-generation databases. A Professional Cloud Developer also has proficiency with at least one general-purpose programming language and is skilled at producing meaningful metrics and logs to debug and trace code.”

Looking to earn your Professional Cloud Developer certification? Here’s a breakdown of the PCD exam and how you can best prepare for it.


Wondering which Google Cloud certification is best for you? What certification to get next, or just need some guidance in plotting your cloud career path? Check out our in-depth guide to Google Cloud certifications.


Exam knowledge areas

Google’s Professional Cloud Developer exam breaks down into five knowledge areas.

1. Designing highly scalable, available, and reliable cloud-native applications
The first is designing highly scalable, available, and reliable cloud-native applications. To cover this area you need a solid theoretical foundation in application design principles to ensure your applications are performant and secure. You also need to understand the breadth of GCP services on offer so you can make the correct design decisions regarding data and storage.

2. Building and testing applications
The second knowledge area is building and testing applications. These concepts are cloud-agnostic and include writing code, writing tests, and setting up agile continuous integration and deployment systems. As a Cloud Developer, you should be proficient in at least one common programming language, such as Python, Go, or Node.JS.

3. Deploying applications
In the third knowledge area, the exam concentrates on deploying applications to GCP specifically, so you need a good understanding of the different target platforms available: Compute Engine, Kubernetes Engine, App Engine, Cloud Functions, and Cloud Run. You can’t overlook Google’s considerable investment in Kubernetes, so you’ll need a solid operational understanding of deploying apps to GKE.

4. Integrating GCP services
The next knowledge area covers integrating other GCP services, such as messaging, service discovery, identity management, and Cloud APIs.

5. Managing application performance
The final knowledge area looks at managing application performance, or APM, using GCP Operation Suite for logging, monitoring, debugging, and tracing, as well as an in-depth knowledge of troubleshooting applications in the cloud.


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The bigger picture

The knowledge areas together may seem like an overly broad curriculum, but just like with other Google Cloud exams, the intention is to test your ability as a confident practitioner — not just your theoretical knowledge of products and services.

You’ll need to understand these areas and have practical experience developing and deploying apps to GCP’s various platforms in order to have the confidence to pass this exam.

Prepare for your Professional Cloud Developer certification

Thankfully, making you a confident Cloud Developer so that you can pass this exam is exactly the intention of our new Professional Cloud Developer certification course.

As a cert-prep course, we cover each of these knowledge areas with concise theory lessons backed up by plenty of hands-on practice in our lab environments. For areas where you may have less experience, we also include recommendations for further deep-dive material to make sure you’re completely covered.

You’ll be in good hands as you’re guided through everything you need to know to confidently design, build and deploy applications to GCP, and pass the exam with flying colors!

Getting certified

When you’re ready to test, remember that you can now take cloud certification exams remotely, so there’s no need to go into a testing center. Do a final study session and then go get certified.


Get more than certified.

Join A Cloud Guru and get access to courses, hands-on labs, quizzes, and learning paths, which take you step-by-step from novice to guru in your chosen area of the cloud.

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