Mastering the Google Cloud Professional DevOps Exam: The Influence of Platform Engineering Excellence

Author: Neofytos Zacharia | Posted on: November 21, 2023



Embarking on the journey to conquer the Google Cloud Professional DevOps Exam was a challenging yet rewarding experience that significantly elevated my skills and understanding of cloud technologies. Successfully navigating this certification not only validated my expertise in DevOps practices but also provided unique insights into Google Cloud’s powerful offerings. This certification is a testament to the growing importance of cloud-native DevOps, making it a valuable asset for any professional seeking to advance their career in the ever-evolving tech landscape. In this blog post, we will delve into the landscape of learning resources, the invaluable role CECG’s platform engineering training played, and how real-world scenarios in our projects mirrored the exam challenges.



The Learning Resources Landscape

The wealth of learning resources available for the GCP DevOps exam is undoubtedly impressive, yet their generalised nature poses specific challenges. While online courses and documentation served as a theoretical foundation, the absence of practical applications and real-world examples left a discernible gap. Recognizing the dynamic nature of the exam, I sought more than just theoretical knowledge; I aimed for a profound understanding cultivated through hands-on experience. Personally, when embarking on Cloud certifications, my initial approach is to explore Udemy courses. Video lectures resonate with me more than extensive documentation. In pursuit of GCP DevOps knowledge, I opted for the highest-rated Udemy course for this exam. Notably, my prior experience with GCP was limited to Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). This Udemy course seamlessly blended hands-on practices with theoretical concepts. Upon completion, I comprehended the intricacies of DevOps, fostering confidence in my exam preparedness. To further gauge my readiness, I sought mock exams for the Google Cloud Professional DevOps exam. Leveraging CECG’s ACloudGuru business account, I accessed another valuable course series that included mock exams. A preliminary review of video courses revealed gaps in my theoretical understanding, prompting a more comprehensive study. After addressing these gaps, I attempted the mock exams four times, consistently achieving scores above 96%. While this bolstered my confidence, as you continue reading, you will discover that success in the real exam requires more than just videos and mock exams.



The Role of CECG’s Platform Engineering Training

The significance of CECG’s platform engineering training became evident during my exam preparation journey. Upon joining CECG, I underwent a thorough onboarding process that immersed me in platform engineering principles and best practices. The comprehensive onboarding covered various aspects, including the implementation of solid automations for delivering client products to production, often referred to as the “Path to Production.” CECG’s specialised training in platform engineering proved invaluable, particularly in the practical application of CI/CD pipelines, unit/load/integration testing, trunk-based approaches, and advanced Kubernetes concepts. This training complemented the exam content and served as a cornerstone in aligning my skills with the demands of the Google Cloud Professional DevOps Exam.



Exam Scenarios and Real-world Application

One of the most noteworthy aspects of the exam was how the scenarios aligned with situations encountered in CECG daily projects. Concepts such as Terraform best practices, GKE optimizations, SLIs, SLOs, SLAs, error budgets, and in general SRE best practices closely mirrored our everyday operations. During the exam, I encountered scenarios related to Terraform resource recreation issues and remote Terraform state storage. Furthermore, the examination featured various questions related to GKE, covering aspects such as monitoring, logging, and scaling. Notably, I faced diverse scenarios related to CI/CD, dealing with challenges in CloudBuild, permissions gaps for the CD component, and considerations on securing the source code main branch, along with various issues during the CI process. Despite my knowledge of how GCP services work, the scenarios made it challenging to choose the correct answer. Fortunately, almost every scenario I encountered during the exam was reminiscent of the challenges I had dealt with daily. It is worth mentioning, that in our daily tasks, we may not necessarily use CloudBuild, GKE, and other specific services, but analogous tools present similar challenges, providing a robust experience to address issues with any tool.

Familiarity with advanced concepts, including canary deployments, blue-green deployments, and monitoring with Prometheus, played a pivotal role in my exam success. CECG’s proactive adoption of these practices in various projects not only solidified my understanding but also provided a level of confidence that proved invaluable during the exam. The ability to draw upon practical experiences made complex scenarios more manageable.



Challenges Faced

While the learning resources and CECG’s platform engineering training proved invaluable, balancing workload responsibilities with exam preparation was a genuine obstacle. Studying for a certification exam while managing a full-time workload can be a formidable challenge. The dynamic nature of the Platform Engineering field demands constant attention, and finding dedicated time for exam preparation proved challenging. Strategic time management, prioritisation, and a disciplined approach were essential in overcoming these challenges, contributing to a more effective exam preparation strategy.

Coming from an AWS-centric background, adapting to the nuances of Google Cloud posed a significant initial hurdle. Service name disparities, different configurations, and distinct best practices necessitated a dedicated effort to bridge the knowledge gap. This transition emphasised the importance of understanding the unique features of Google Cloud and avoiding assumptions based on AWS familiarity.

Opting to directly pursue the DevOps specialisation without taking foundational exams created gaps in my understanding of core GCP services. This decision made the DevOps Exam more challenging than anticipated, highlighting the necessity of a comprehensive overview of Google Cloud before diving into specialisation exams.

Navigating the intricate technical details of Google Cloud services while simultaneously devising an effective exam strategy was another obstacle. It required a delicate balance between diving deep into the technical aspects of DevOps practices on GCP and understanding the specific requirements outlined by the exam.



Conclusion

In conclusion, the Google Cloud Professional DevOps Exam was not just an evaluation of theoretical knowledge; it was a validation of practical application. The fusion of learning resources, CECG’s platform engineering training and experience, and real-world scenarios became a winning formula. My experience demonstrates that a hands-on approach, rooted in CECG’s platform engineering expertise and actual projects, significantly enhances one’s ability to navigate the complexities of the exam. As you embark on your GCP DevOps certification journey, leverage real-world experiences, tackle challenges head-on, and let practical application be your guide to success.