Google Certified Associate Cloud Engineer 2020

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Passed ACE Exam 9/8/20 (No Prior Experience in Anything Computer Related)

This Post is divided into: My studying process, things to study, how this course did

Hi all, I passed my ace exam today and felt great about it! I wanted to give a little insight into how my test passing process went, because I had no experience prior to learning this material (I worked in the food industry before studying this) and it was very hard to acquire all of the information I needed. I hope my learning experience from start to finish can be helpful for individuals in a similar position.

**My studying process:

I started off in April with Google’s Qwiklabs. I did a handful of their introductory level courses and it wasn’t a fantastic starting point because I was very confused as to the platform that I was working with, but I had to start somewhere. After completing a handful of quests (I did the intro to qwiklabs, cloud engineering one, and I think a couple others) I didn’t feel like I really understood the platform.

I used the Coursera course that was recommended by google, and that was helpful in putting a couple pieces together from my previous labs, but it wasn’t going to give me the knowledge I needed to pass.

The next resource I used was Dan Sullivan’s study guide (kindle version). If you haven’t read this, it’s a great resource for learning about the platform, honestly I’d recommend reading this before anything else if you don’t have any experience. This resource came with a year long subscription to their testing bank with hundreds of questions to practice on and I think the book covered the platform very well

After I’d completed all 3 of these, I took the test and I failed. I still didn’t have enough information to put things together. Enter ACloud Guru and Mattias Andersson’s Course. If you only use one resource, it should be this one. If you use 2 resources, it should be this and the study guide I’d say. (This course now also includes Nigel Poulton’s Kubernetes Deep Dive Course which I think is a must as well if your going to take Mattias Andersson’s Associate Cloud Engineer Course.) I’m really glad I took this course last because I think that having a basic understanding of the platform going into this course helped me further expand my knowledge in a way that really put everything together. I think this course would be hard to take with no knowledge base at all, or at least I don’t think it’d be quite as beneficial.

I also used a few set of Quizlet Flashcards. I made a few of my own sets and used a couple of other peoples public sets and that was really helpful. I definitely recommend getting a solid understanding of the platform and then zeroing in on your passing results by using flashcards and practice tests. That helped me a lot.

**Exam Content To Really Study:

Best practices – if you run into a question on the exam that you don’t know how to answer, knowledge of google’s best practices will really help you make an educated inference that will make a huge difference in your exam results

Storage Options and Database Options – knowing these is so important. I feel like about a 4th of the questions I saw this time around had something to do with knowing what data to put where, or what storage class I should choose, or which database should be used. Having a solid understanding of these guys will help you so much.

Kubernetes – I don’t feel like this was particularly important in my test, but this may be because I didn’t struggle on these questions as much. I have nothing but good things to say about the ACloud Guru kubernetes Deep Dive, and think that it gave me the knowledge I needed to answer the K8s questions

IAM – I think a fair amount of my questions had to do with IAM principles and it’s definitely helpful to be familiar with the IAM part of the billing console

CIDR – The first time I took the test it felt like there were a lot of CIDR questions. The second time however I didn’t encounter nearly as many. I think having a solid understanding of CIDR will definitely help you, but (like all of these topics) it’s just going to depend on which questions you get hit with in the test.

**How This Course Helped / Can be Improved:

First off, I have to give kudos to Mattias’ encouragement of building your mental data flow. I think that was a huge part of the reason I was able to pass.

I loved the challenge labs. I think those helped me a lot, I found myself multiple times during the exam thinking back to the different processes I’d gone through during the challenge labs. I’ve done several labs and challenge labs through different subscriptions and websites and the ones in this course have by far been the most realistic and helpful. I think adding one or 2 more challenge labs would be great.

The kubernetes deep dive addition was remarkably helpful.

The practice exam on Mattias’ course helped me the most out of all the practice courses I did. I think being able to do the practice exam in this course last was really helpful because I had enough of a knowledge base to make the most out of the test.

One thing I think this course can do more of is working on best practices. I get the reason to keep the course on the shorter side, but I feel like with all the additional resources provided and the videos and homework, someone like me who has no previous experience is going to be spending 20-30 hours on the course anyway, and it could make sense to have an extra lesson covering best practices.

I also think more coverage of storage classes, storage options, and databases would be helpful. This course was the final reason I was able to pass, but I think it could do better with incorporating some general information as well. Even just a couple storage/database charts that go over use cases and when you should use them would be really helpful. Or maybe just some links to resources that have that information.

Stephen Greszczyszyn

Thanks for this writeup. I failed my first attempt about a year ago November 2019. I do have extensive IT background and was quite disappointed after doing all the official Coursera/Google prep courses and quicklabs, reading the GCP prep book, and being able to complete all the associated practice exams fairly easily. The actual exam was much trickier, and even worse you don’t know how close or where you failed. Since then I’ve passed the Certified Kubernetes Administrator Exam and Kubernetes Developer Exam which are 3/2 hour practical exams. They are a much better determination of how well you know a system than tricky multiple choice questions in my opinion. I’m not sure why Google can’t offer the same type of exam to show that you really know how to use the GCP rather than how well you can solve tricky multiple choice questions.

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