This story begins with me looking at my phone and frowning about a new charge… It was a subscription for ACG, a cloud learning site that I discovered while browsing for courses on serverless technology. I found the quality of the content on the site excellent because they focused on real world application in addition to the curriculum. They have “Niched Down” to courses focused on Cloud Certifications for: AWS, Google, and Microsoft Azure.
This past weekend I blocked off a few hours, got on the spin bike and proved if I was going to pay for it, I was going to use it. I selected a course on Google Cloud because it was short, included labs, and Google’s Cloud has a free tier to practice on. After watching the course, I felt comfortable in being able to pass the exam. Tending to procrastinate without a looming deadline or a cash investment, I ponied up another $125.00 for the GC-ACE exam fee and now had 3 days to ramp up my understanding + capabilities on Google Cloud Platform.
Since 2011, My background is heavy experience as VMware, EMC, Cisco, Linux Engineer converted in 2016 to cloud technical program manager. I led a team of 7-10 software developers designing kubernetes deployments to run data collection and analytics software on AWS, AZURE, GCP. I have spent months coding terraform plugins in go, and designing global infrastructure solutions. I have never logged into Google Cloud before Monday. Here is how I decided to approach the exam.
Resource #1: acloud.guru
time spent 2.5h – Saturday & Sunday
I already mentioned these folks above; they don’t have a lot of content, but the content they have is quality. I followed Mattias instructions at the start of this course and just watched it all the way through without doing any of the labs. I cranked up the speed between 1.3-1.5x normal. I had to rewind more than once, so it took about 2.5 hours to complete the viewing session over Saturday and Sunday.
Resource #2: The Cloud Tech Guy Joe
time spent 2.5h – Monday
Joe appeared in a Youtube search for the top ten things to know before you take your GC-ACE exam. I decided to watch it and liked Joe’s style and tips; they are direct and to the point. After watching Joe’s video, I became aware of the possibility of being overly confident. He covers a lot of topics in this video in a short time span and keeps referring to these as easy things to remember.
Spending a little more time on Joe’s Youtube, I found that Joe, had 4 other Youtube videos where he covers the GC-ACE certification guide in detail. So I watched these Videos as well to see what I might be missing.
Resource #3: The Google Cloud Overview page
time spent 2h – Tuesday
There are a lot of links in the overview document; many topics require further explanation in order to understand them.
This is the part where it started to come together and I begin see how Google designed their cloud. Like Legos, you just pick the services you need and put them together. It is very intuitive to determine which services are needed to fit particular use cases.
Resource #4: acloud.guru
4h – Tuesday & Wednesday
I went back to acloud.guru and watched the certification course again. This time I performed all the labs and followed along in the course. I could see how each lab specifically applied to a section of the test material and encourages the student to learn about the material not focused on memorization of a topic. Instead, the course wants the student to understand how to create metal models of the “movement of data through the cloud, processing of data in the cloud, and remembering data in the cloud.”
movement = network, processing = compute, and remembering = storage.
By structuring your thinking along this framework, it encourages you to visualize how the cloud services interact to form an ecosystem. Quickly plan out your ecosystem across Google’s service offerings based on cost, performance, availability, and location. I completely missed this the first time, but I believe this was my key to passing the exam.
As recommended by Mattias, I also watched the 2h intro to Google Cloud course as it was to compliment the associate certification course.
Resource #5: console.cloud.google.com – the GCP console url.
time spent 2h – Wednesday
I spent multiple hours deploying multiple services after I was finished with the courses. I spun up storage buckets, kubernetes clusters, compute instances, and much more. I crashed things a few times by deleting objects to see what would happen.
80% of the time I followed Google’s built in tutorials on using the service to get a project up and running, and then modified it to see what would happen.
Here is the breakdown of how I approached the test. Finished the 50 questions at exactly an hour, reviewed 14 questions for 20 minutes, then reviewed the entire exam for 30 minutes, pressing Submit with 9 minutes left. The exam was challenging, however applied use cases that you would encounter in the real world. The Result = Pass. What began with a frown, ended with that frown turned upside down and great feeling of accomplishment.
Congratulations, Karlitos! Achieving this result with only three days of hands-on GCP usage is very impressive! And thank you for writing up the story of your journey! It’s both very well-written and incredibly helpful to others who are preparing for the exam–so I have now linked to this post from my Exam Report Mega-Thread. 🙂
I am very glad that you found good value in the courses I’ve made, and it was particularly rewarding for me to read about your moment of enlightenment about data flows, upon rewatching this ACE course. =)
To other readers: You should definitely also check out this helpful addendum that Karlitos posted in another thread. It lists lots of specific things you should know for your exam.
Thanks–and congratulations–again, Karlitos!
Thank you for writing this up! It will be very useful in the near future :)!