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Google Associate Cloud Engineer Online Exam – Experiences

Cloud Posted on Sun, August 14, 2022 03:08PM

This Friday (2022-08-12) and the very last day of my vacation I managed to get a PASS on the Google Associate Cloud Engineer certification exam (ACE exam). And I made it Remote/Online/From Home 😃!

Google Cloud Certification : Associate Cloud Engineer | by Raj.k | FAUN  Publication

This post summarizes:

  • Sources used for my studies
  • Learnings from doing my first online proctored examination

Worth to to start mention is that even though I have worked with public cloud (AWS i particular) since 2015, one year ago I had no experience in GCP at all, and during this year I have not worked full time with GCP at my workplace Bonnier News.

My experiences in AWS has for sure been helpful to grasp details about GCP. Some services are extremely similar. AWS S3 and GCP Cloud Storage as one example. Other concepts like IAM is quite different.

As usual when I decide to challenge myself with a certification I start by book a date for the exam. For Google certifications that journey started with registering an account on I had the same strategy as with my summer studies for AWS SA Pro 2020. For the first time I took a chance to do it online from home. To save some time and to learn if that method could be useful for future certifications.

Study resources

I started by listen (only listen not watch) to various shorter (1-2h) courses in the area of GCP Foundations on LinkedIn Learning and Pluralsight. The main course that I put focus on watching became GCP Associate Cloud Engineer – Google Cloud Certificationfrom (17h) on Udemy.

From the Where should I run my stuff? article in the Google docs I found below picture very good to get an high level overview of the various compute options in GCP. When to choose GKE, Cloud Run etc. Was shown to be important knowledge when going into the exam questions.

Along with the online training I made 5 practice tests. Also from Udemy and the Google Certified Associate Cloud Engineer Practice Tests resource. I can highly recommend these practice tests as they were very much aligned with the type of questions that came on the real Google examination. For all the 5 tests (50 questions each) I was in the range of 70-80% of score. So above the acceptable level but without a huge margin.
One difference from the practice tests and the real exam was that the practice tests questions sometimes expected very detailed knowledge. Like:

What gcloud command line argument “-m”, “-t”, “-d” is used for…

I did not get any of these detailed questions on the real exam.

Online proctored examination

Knowing that I probably have mad my homework to do hands-on labs, online training and especially practice exams, my biggest concern going into the scheduled exam was not my preparations. Instead all arrangement you have to do to do the examination online from home.

Before and right after I made som valuable notes that for sure will come handy next time I (or You) will take a Google exam from home.

Here is the gross list of all learnings I made:

  • Follow the instructions to create your digital signature that you get by email after signing upp for the exam.
  • Verify system requirements and install the Sentinel LockDown Browser in advance.
  • Disable your firewall(s).
  • Put yourself into a silent room and minimise the risk for someone else to disturb.
  • I recommend using a laptop with charger plugged. Out of batteries or boken internet connection will fail your exam.
  • I had to lift up my laptop with built in camera to show all four walls in the room. So clean all walls from possible notes and so on. See below image for my room setup.
  • You can initiate the startup procedure on 15min before schedule. Make sure to have driver license id on the table. I did not have to show any second identification like passport.
  • Once the startup procedure is almost done, use the allowed 5 minutes to utilize the restroom a final time.
  • When you see the first question you are not allowed to do any noise or move up from your chair. No pauses are allowed!
This was an acceptable setup for the online exam

My result

Directly after submitting the exam you get a PASS or FAIL result. The final score will be sent by email 7-10 days after the exam.

Will publish my result as soon as it dropps into my mailbox…

[Update 2022-08-27]
Two weeks after the exam day I got a message from Google that they now completed the verification and I got my certificate: Verification link.
…and also I learned that Google (unlike AWS) do not share the final score after an examination. So the result were somewhere between 35-50 out of 50 questions.

Thanks for reading!

AWS DevOps Engineer Pro Exam – Experiences

Cloud, DevOps Posted on Sat, February 06, 2021 06:01AM

Yesterday I made another milestone in my professional career. I managed to get a pass on the AWS DevOps Engineer Professional Exam.

My last (quite extensive) post was about my PASS of the AWS Solutions Architect Pro (SA Pro) Exam. Since the preparation methods I used was very similar I’ll make this post shorter and explain more of what I actually learned from my studies.

The SA Pro exam is very broad. When reading through the preparation material provided by AWS I got a feeling of that I could more or less can get any question on any AWS Service. Which also was shown to be (almost) true for the SA Pro exam. That is not the case for the DevOps Pro Exam.

All 6 domains, except the one SDLC Automation (described in more detail below), in the DevOps Pro have some overlap to the SA Exams. In other words I could heavily make use of the knowledge i gained during my SA studies.

I mentioned in my last post I’m not a big fan of certifications. In the way that a certificate “proofs” your knowledge, my opinion has not changed. You really should NOT hire me just for having these badges. Although the “requirements” to get a PASS claims that you need extensive experience working with AWS, I still not believe that is the case.

However, since I anyway continue to study for certifications, there is one thing with these studies that for me make the effort valuable…

– I learn things I probably should not have learned in my daily work!

…and these learnings have shown to be valuable in my daily work.

SDLC Automaiton

I got one big sad learning from my AWS DevOps Pro journey. The AWS Code* (CodeCommit, CodePipeline, …) is really not services suited for medium or larger organizations. There is one big advantage with these services:

They are all serverless and mostly well integrated with the rest of the AWS services ecosystem. IAM integration and so on.

…but there the advantages ends :-(.

Disadvantage #1 – Pipeline versioning

You can not version the pipeline (CodePipeline, pipeline.yml) in the same repository as the code it automates. Of course you can put the pipeline.yml file in the repository, but an update of that file will not update the actual pipeline itself. In my private AWS Organization I had to do a hack with an home made lambda that made that possible.

Disadvantage #2 – Pipeline progress usability

Having used GitLab and GitLab CI for many years, I’ve been used to the (almost) instant and good overview of the pipeline progress visualization. With Code- Commit/Pipeline/Build/Deploy I sometimes end up in 10 clicks just to get the logs for a pipeline execution. Not developer friendly at all.

Disadvantage #3 – Amount of code needed

Having experience from GitLab CI (and a bit of GitHub Actions and BitBucket Pipelines) writing tiny pipeline.yml files for automation. Then start define CodePipeline definitions is not a pleasant experience. I estimate CodePipeline definitions to have about three times more yml-code compared to the more competitive alternatives.

Disadvantage #4 – Code collaboration capabilties

CodeCommit is based on Git which is good. But (currently) there are zero capabilities for code collaboration. When you got used to search through all code on you really can’t live without the global search feature to find code among your code repositories. – Come on CodeCommit team!


To end in a positive way I must really say that my learnings from the AWS CloudWatch service has been VERY pleasant. Of course CloudWatch and the teams behind the service was released 10+ years ago. The Code*-teams are quite new and hopefully will also start to listen to customer feedback.

…and my result: