I am a Cloud Developer and I work with GCP regularly. I rarely worked with GCP prior to my current role so it was a challenge to learn all the concepts. I luckily had some AWS experience and the concepts are similar but some things are very different on GCP. I was able to overcome this knowledge gap and have earned multiple Google certifications over the past few months.
I also host this blog on GCP and leverage many of the google cloud services. The purpose of this article is to share with you my recommended Google certification study resources that have helped me close my knowledge gap.
Below are the Google certifications I currently hold.
- Google Cloud Certified Associate Cloud Engineer
- Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Architect
- Google Cloud Certified Professional Network Engineer
- Google Cloud Certified Professional Data Engineer
Google Cloud Platform Overview
The Google Cloud Platform is one of the largest cloud providers today. While GCP is the lesser of the three main providers (AWS, Azure, GCP), GCP offers unique big data, machine learning, and networking services that either outperform other providers or are not available.
GCP also differs in how they bill their services specifically when it comes to spot or preempt-able instances making it easier for organizations to perform cost planning.
Google stands behind their platform and uses it to host many of their internal services and services like YouTube and Gmail. One of the issues with GCP has been maturity and services being in beta for a really long time which makes customers concerned about hosting production workloads on the platform. However, many GCP services are now fully supported and are in general access.
Google Certification Program Overview
Part of this maturity of GCP is the Google certification program that is offered. Google has spent a great deal of time developing their certification program to compete with Amazon and Microsoft and they now offer some of the most valuable certifications out there.
Globalknowledge.com even went as far as calling the GCP Professional Cloud Architect Google certification the number one IT certification of 2019 with an average salary of over 139k. The GCP certifications differ significantly when compared to the AWS certifications because they test on multiple domains of knowledge outside of the cloud platform.
There also is only one associate level certification and the rest are professional level providing the generalist cloud architect certification along side other specializations such as security, networking, big data, development, and GSuite. Here is a link to the official Google certification documentation.
Coursera – Official Google Material
Coursera is the world’s largest learning platform for higher education and hosts courses from over 190 leading universities and organizations including google. The specific course for each GCP certification is linked on the official google certification recommended training.
These courses provide the most up to date training material for the certification and come directly from google. Additionally, they provide access to the recommended labs from Qwiklabs for that exam. I’ll elaborate on what Qwiklabs is below.
If you see an emphasis on any specific topic in the official Coursera class for the certification, expect to see that on the exam. I’ve also noticed that the verbiage used by the instructors is similar to what you will see on the exam.
I used the 7 day trail the week before I took each certification and found it to be very beneficial. Again, what I have found is the material is more up to date compared to other courses and most closely aligns with the certification test.
I would highly recommend that you checkout the official google Coursera course if you plan on taking a Google certification or are interested in other GCP training!
Udemy GCP Courses
Udemy has alot of really great professional courses for almost any subject you can think of. I was particularly impressed with the Big data courses on GCP. The course is taught by engineers that used to work at google and they do a great job of breaking down the actual technologies and explaining how each google product aligns with its open-source variant.
Udemy also has courses for most of the other GCP certifications as well as courses on AWS, Azure, and almost any other topic in IT. If you are just looking to get one or two certifications, then Udemy may be a good option because you actually buy the course instead of paying for a subscription. It is similar to Coursera except the content is not direct from the certification vendor.
I have a business level subscription to Udemy so I have almost unlimited access to their courses and I’ve been really impressed with many of their classes.
I highly recommend them if your studying for a new certification or just need to learn a new skill!
Official GCP Written Guides
You can obtain hard copies and electronic copies of the official GCP written study guides for some of the certification exams. I purchased the guide for the GCP Associate Cloud Engineer exam to see the quality of the guide.
The guide covered all of the bases for the exam and I would recommend it. I personally prefer written material over video material because I absorb it better but everyone is different. There are plenty of options when it comes to training material ranging from written, video, and hands on labs.
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Here is an affiliate link for the official GCP Associate Cloud Engineer study guide if your are interested!
QwikLabs Hands on GCP Training
Qwiklabs provides labs for GCP and AWS. Google puts labs from demonstrations from the Google Next Conferences and labs that directly align with the Google certifications. Google even references Qwiklabs lab quests in the official recommended training for each certification exam.
If you use Coursera then you will get access to some of the recommended labs at no extra cost through qwiklabs. However, Qwiklabs is also great just for getting general experience on GCP. Almost anything you can think of is available.
While you can come up with labs yourself, the benefits of Qwiklabs is that you get to see the Google recommended approach. They even have labs for deploying Palo Alto firewalls on GCP which I particularly enjoyed as I was a network security engineer in my last role.
I highly recommend Qwiklabs because you can quickly gain experience on the Google Cloud Platform and get access to recommended configurations that apply to real world environments and the certification exams.
Linux Academy GCP Courses
Linux Academy is one of my favorite place to go for GCP training. I feel like they do a good job of making the training interesting and easy to follow. They also provide an excellent interactive lucid chart diagram for all of their certifications along with flash cards and practice exams.
Additionally, they provide fully managed hands on labs similar to what you find in Qwiklabs. I found that their practice exams align closely with what is asked on the actual certification exam allowing you to reliably use their practice exams to gauge your readiness for the real exam.
What you may find is that the way they explain something may be a little different than how they do it on Coursera. Coursera contains the official training from Google and you’ll see similar verbiage on the exam.
What I did is went through the whole Linux Academy course and then raced through the Coursera course using the 7 day free trial before each exam just to make sure I had the up to date material.
The main benefit with Linux Academy is your going to get access to loads of other material since you pay for the subscription. They have tons of courses and hands on labs for AWS, Azure, Linux, and Devops. I had a paid subscription through my last job and I learned a ton from Linux Academy.
I would recommend Linux Academy as an alternative to Coursera if you want high quality training, excellent learning aids, and access to other IT courses.
A Cloud Guru GCP Training
I used Acloud Guru for the associate engineer certification. I quickly completely the course but I was particularly frustrated that they did not provide many lab guides like they do for their AWS certifications. The course for the associate certification referenced the Qwiklab labs instead.
I didn’t like this because you have to pay for that lab quest. Google free tier provides 300$ free without providing a credit card so I feel like they should make more lab guides instead of referencing the Qwiklab labs.
I really like Acloud Guru for AWS, so if you use them for that, then its not a bad idea to look over their courses for GCP training. They may improve and they do provide decent practice exams like Linux Academy.
GCP has the best free tier offering out of all the cloud providers. You can quickly sign up for a personal account. Google provides specific always free services and will also give you 300$ worth of free credit for any service for the first year.
You can easily spin up very large instances for a short duration without going over this limit. The other great thing is that if you leave them running, you are not liable for a large bill.
This is because you have to manually promote your GCP account from free tier before Google will bill you. Google will simply terminate those instances once you’ve exceeded the free tier limit.
I think that anyone planning on using GCP should at least setup a personal account and deploy some resources.
I highly recommend that anyone studying for the Google certifications at least use the Coursera training since that is the official training provided by Google.
Udemy is a great option if you want to buy the specific class instead of a subscription to a training platform and is a little cheaper than Coursera. I also recommend using Qwiklabs and GCP free tier to get hands on experience with the platforms.
Linux Academy and Acloud Guru provide some good content if you use them for other certification training so it’s worth looking at what they have to offer.
If you interested in more cloud training recommendations then go here!