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Google Cloud rolls out first online cert exams

Eric Pulsifer
Eric Pulsifer
*Updated May 14, 2020, to reflect addition of the Professional Data Engineer exam availability.

Google Cloud has joined the online exam party. In April, it announced exams for the Associate Cloud Engineer and Professional Cloud Architect certifications would be offered online. This marked the first time the cloud provider offered Google Cloud Platform (GCP) exams outside of a testing center. These were followed by the Professional Data Engineer test rolling out for online testing in May. The move should bring a little certainty to cert-seeking gurus while many test-taking facilities remain closed.

More GCP exams are expected to be offered with online proctoring (test-taking lingo for “test monitoring”) in the near future. Exams offered online are currently only available in English.

This update follows last month’s announcement that Google Cloud certifications expiring between February 13 and May 30 would be granted a grace period to re-certify until June 30.

The proctor will see you now

Online proctored exams are monitored by another human being over the internet via a web camera. There are some basic requirements around your network, your environment, and the hardware you test on. This video from GCP walks you through the day-of test-taking process.

On the day of your exam — should traffic be bad on the trek from your bedroom to your desk — you have a little wiggle room around test-starting time. You can begin 10 minutes prior and up to 20 minutes after your scheduled start time. Before you start the exam, your online proctor will check your ID, examine your environment, and then launch the test, which you’ll have 120 minutes to complete.

Prefer the in-person testing experience (or just longing to be in public, sitting in a room filled with strangers again)? As things open back up, you can keep on eye on Kryterion’s list of testing center closures here.


Cloud strife levels up

The news marks Google Cloud’s first foray into the world of remote proctoring for exams and helps put GCP on more equal footing with other providers — many of which had already been offering online exams. Amazon Web Services (AWS) expanded its online exam offerings to include all certs last month. And Microsoft Azure has and continues to offer online exams for its role-based certifications.

The transition to working from home presented a new challenge for test-givers, meaning the seemingly no-brainer decision to offer online exams was a little more complicated than it might seem. “Employees who proctor the exams remotely have to go into an office to do their jobs,” Google support said. “Unfortunately, having online proctors work from home is a transformation of the online proctoring vendor’s operation that would also need to be enabled.”

For those eyeing a GCP cert not currently offered online, GCP support can offer the latest information. The news of these exams being offered online was made with limited fanfare, and additional testing could be added at anytime.

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