Google Cloud Professional Architect

Taking a leap over the rainbow

Ever since working with a great team at the BBC, I’ve been noticing the momentum behind Google Cloud. I’ve been looking to do a certification for a while, so decided to go with Google’s Professional Cloud Architect.

Photo by Dewang Gupta

Preparing for the exam

The advice I was given was to go for the Coursera material. That stood me in good stead. Don’t expect perfection though: this stuff is changing all the time and there are a few bloopers and “human touches” in the content. My favourite is when the instructor’s Google Home starts talking to him in the background, closely followed by the time there’s a rustling sound, as if someone is monkeying around behind the camera, and the straight-faced, earnest instructor can’t quite hold back a lovely smile.

Going for the numbers

As with any certification exam, there’s diminishing returns to over-studying. You’ll likely only work in depth in a few areas and all areas will change over time, so knowing it all as it stands today doesn’t add much value. Knowing enough to pass across the board, staying up to date with most things and getting really good at a couple of things is my idea of pragmatic and practical. I booked the exam and dug in for some more study.

Vanishing hope

In case you think I’m made of the stuff that causes impostor syndrome in innocent bystanders, someone sliding through with ease, I’d like to share with you the sense of foreboding I felt coming up to the exam. I hope that if you’re studying for PCA and all you see on this glistening Internet are what look to be smug people who sailed through under a light breeze, a glass of prosecco and strawberries in hand, pinkies out, shades on, that I can share a real moment which I hope will bring you solace.

Exam day

There’s no official pass mark for the exam and you get no feedback. Just a yes or no. It’s two hours and 50 questions. I was anxious. There was one timely bright spark: I’d watched this Simon Sinek talk in my worried state the night before. He explains that “anxious” and “excited” are physiologically similar. It turns out that just saying “I’m excited” rather than “I’m nervous” can materially improve your performance.

Over the rainbow

I’ve never been so pleased, so relieved and so thankful to see those four letters. For me achieving Professional Cloud Architect felt like stepping up to a genuine challenge. If you’re considering it, I’d certainly recommend it, but not for light entertainment.

Hands-on culture and techology. Work hard be kind. Chief Engineer and head geek at Foundry4 (https://foundry4.com)

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