Google Certified Associate Cloud Engineer 2020

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Passed ACE on 22 Feb 2020


Glad to inform that I have passed my ACE, 2 weeks right after PCA. Initially, I wanted to take it 1 week right after PCA, but some time is needed for my company to get issue me the free voucher.

Personally, I think ACE is like 3 times harder than PCA. I have 2-3 years of experience in GCP, but mainly on running multiple WordPress sites and using services such as Cloud SQL and Cloud Storage, so I have some background in GCP but this is definitely not sufficient for this ACE.

While Google classifies the Associate level as something you need not worry about business requirements, vs Professional which needs to balance both Business and Technical requirements, to me it’s much harder for ACE than PCA, as many questions are on selecting which commands for the given scenario.

For PCA, if you think in terms of cloud-native, you can do some elimination and get the right answers. For ACE, without good technical hands-on, chances are you will not be able to differentiate the right commands to use. One example is gcloud vs kubectl commands – while the question clearly indicates it’s Kubernetes, you need to know exactly what you’re doing so that you know whether to run the gcloud or kubectl command.

In short, ACE really test if you really have reasonably good hands-on or not.

Summary of my ACE:

a) Scope is as wide as PCA, and quite a few questions are scenario-based on pure technical requirements. Quite a few asked you which command to use and each of the options given differs only a bit for the syntax. Either you know or you don’t know. So it’s crucial to know the command syntax through daily work or

b) Kubernetes, Kubernetes, Kubernetes – many of my questions are on Kubernetes. Some is with the yaml file and ask you to troubleshoot. I feel ACG’s Kubernetes Deep Dive is a must for preparation, plus GCP documentation.

c) ACL – quite a few on asking which roles to select for each of your team members and Finance, given the scenarios. Two of the options are very similar, with the other two similar to each other. A quick way of elimination is to eliminate that pair that is wrong, and then decide which one of the remaining two is correct.

d) Networking – need to know which balancers to use for each scenario

e) Database and storage – need to know the differences

f) Google’s Best Practices – need to read that online at, as many questions asked you which options to pick based on Google recommended practices

g) Other miscellaneous topics: vCPUs, service accounts; A/B versions; Deployment Manager; Datastore; Stackdriver – monitoring, filtering logs; BigQuery/BigTable.

For course, strongly recommend ACG courses on ACE and PCA by Mattias, since both certifications scope overlap a lot. ACG’s Kubernetes Deep Dive is also highly recommended.

In terms of the timeline for preparation, basically prepared for PCA, plus two weeks of doing labs and hands-on for ACE, since the theory and concept I studied for PCA are largely retained for 2 weeks 🙂

Hope the above helps.

Good luck to all who is going to clear ACE!!!



Thanks for all of this. I’m new to GCP preparing to take my exam sometime in the next few months. Can you elaborate on where you would find a list of Google’s "Best Practices"? Do you have a link? Also, can you summarize, briefly (maybe bullet-point style) the resources you used for study? I have about one year of experience using AWS and am familiar with programming language fundamentals, and know javascript and node.js, as well as Linux. Thank you!


I found the best practices. Here is a link for all who are reading. Look for "best practices" button:

1 Answers

 Personally, I think ACE is like 3 times harder than PCA.

Are you sure you’re not confusing the two? PCA is officially building on ACE – i.e. ACE is more fundamental.


No, not confusing between ACE and PCA. The way Google use Associate vs Professional is different from the norm, such as AWS. For AWS, Professional level means harder then Associate and Foundation level. For Google, Associate level means you do not need to balance the technical requirements with business requirements, you just focus on technical portions. For PCA, you need to cater to business requirements as well. For PCA, I feel it’s much easier than ACE, as you’re given 3 case studies beforehand, and if you do the homework, all the 12-15 questions on the exam are a given. Also PCA tested you at a much higher level than ACE. For instance, you are tested at a general level of the products. You can get away without much hands-on experience. For ACE, it’s at a much deeper level and sometimes you’re given the exact commands to test you.


Aha, okay, interesting

Daniel Comnea

wasn’t aware of that distinction, thanks for sharing it Steve

Angela Andrews

This is great information, Steve. Thanks for sharing and providing so much context. The part about Kubernetes was an unknown, but I’ll be sure to hit that course up before I sit for the ACE.

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