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Nertil Poci

Cloud Certifications: Becoming a Google Associate Cloud Engineer

Nertil Poci

  • Jul 22, 2020
  • 9 Min read
  • Jul 22, 2020
  • 9 Min read
Cloud Infrastructure
Operations and Management
Google Associate Cloud Engineer


Almost every company is adopting the cloud environment for its infrastructure, and there has never been a better time to become a cloud engineer than now. Almost every new application is developed as a cloud-native solution, and older legacy applications are being migrated to be hosted on the cloud. This requires software engineers who understand and specialize in cloud development. What better way to prove yourself to potential customers and than to show your skills through being certified by Google?

While Google Cloud has less market share than Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services, it is growing at an exponential rate and catching up quickly. Google Cloud was identified by Gartner as a Leader in the 2019 Service Magic Quadrant.

This has opened up a lot of opportunities for Google Cloud engineers.

Let’s look into what it takes to complete the Google Associate Cloud Engineer certification and become a Google certified Cloud Engineer.

Who is This Certificate For

The Associate Cloud Engineer certification is intended for individuals who are tasked with deploying apps, monitoring project operations, and maintaining enterprise solutions to make sure that the target performance metrics are met.


The Google Associate Cloud Engineer Certification does not have any prerequisites that you need to complete before you can take the exam. You can jump into any of the certification exams that you feel comfortable completing without having completed any prior exams. Google suggests that you have at least six months of hands-on experience working with its cloud environment before you take the exam.

If you haven’t been working with the Google Cloud environment that long, you can still prepare using the online training and hands-on labs provided by Google, which you can find here.

Skills Measured

The Google Associate Cloud Engineer examination will test your skills in the following domains:

  • Setting up a cloud solution environment
  • Planning and configuring a cloud solution
  • Deploying and implementing a cloud solution
  • Ensuring successful operation of a cloud solution
  • Configuring access and security

For setting up cloud solution environments, you will be tested on setting up projects and cloud accounts. This includes creating projects, assigning users to predefined IAM roles, enabling APIs within cloud projects, and provisioning Stackdriver workspaces.

You will also be tested on managing billing configurations and installing and configuring the command line interface. This includes creating billing accounts, linking them to projects, and setting budgets and alerts.

For planning and configuring cloud solutions, you will be tested on estimating product usage using the Pricing Calculator. You will need to know how to choose the correct compute choice given a workload between Compute Engine, Google Kubernetes Engine, App Engine, Cloud Functions, or Cloud Run. You will also be tested on planning and configuring data storage and network resources. This will include products like CloudSQL, BigQuery, Cloud Spanner, and Bigtabe as well as load balancing options and Cloud DNS configuration.

Next, you'll have to deploy cloud solutions. Here, your skills in deploying Google Cloud resources will be put to the test, including:

  • Deploying and implementing Compute Engine resources—more specifically, launching compute instances, autoscaling, Stackdriver monitoring and logging, and custom SSH keys.

  • Deploying Google Kubernetes Engine clusters, deploying container applications using pods, configuring Kubernetes monitoring, and logging.

  • Deploying and implementing App Engine, Cloud Run, and Cloud Functions resources.

  • Deploying and implementing data solutions that will include products like Cloud SQL, Cloud Datastore, BigQuery, Cloud Spanner, Cloud Pub/Sub, BigDtable, Dataflow, and Cloud Storage.

  • Deploying and implementing networking resources. Creating VPC with subnets, launching compute engine instances with custom network configurations, adding ingress and egress firewall rules, configuring VPN connections, and load balancers.

  • Deploying a solution using Cloud Marketplace.

  • Deploying application infrastructure using Cloud Deployment Manager.

On ensuring the successful operation of a cloud solution, you will be tested on managing deployed cloud solutions. This will include:

  • Managing Compute Engine resources, which will include managing VM instances, attaching GPU, installing CUDA libraries, viewing running VM inventories, and working with VM snapshots, images, and instance groups.

  • Managing Google Kubernetes Engine resources. Working with node pools, pods, services, and stateful applications.

  • Managing App Engine and Cloud Run.

  • Managing Storage and databases. Moving objects between storage buckets, managing object life cycle and access policies, executing queries against Cloud SQL, BigQuery, Cloud Spanner, CloudDatastore, and Bigtable as well as query cost estimation. You might also encounter questions on backing and restoring data instances.

  • Managing networking resources. This will include adding subnets to VPCs and expanding subnets to include more IP addresses.

  • Monitoring and logging. This will include creating Stackdriver alerts based on metrics, creating custom metrics, configuring log sinks and exporting logs to external systems, and using the cloud diagnostics to research application issues—for example, viewing Cloud Trace data and using Cloud Debug to view an application point-in-time.

And finally, we have configuring access and security. Here you will be tested on managing identity and access—more specifically viewing IAM role assignments, assigning roles to accounts or groups, and defining custom IAM roles. You will also be tested on managing service accounts on things like managing service accounts with limited privileges, assigning service accounts to VM instances, and granting access to service accounts in other projects.

Pluralsight Courses

Want to get started? There is no time like the present, and Pluralsight has got you covered.

I highly recommend that you complete the Google Cloud Certified Associate Cloud Engineer learning path. This path contains carefully selected video courses put together to help you successfully complete the Google Associate Cloud Engineer certification.

Other Resources

You can expand your technical understanding of Google Cloud Services with the online training and hands-on labs provided by Google.

Google also offers a free exam readiness course that I suggest you take before taking the exam to do a final check on your exam readiness which you can find here.

Once you have gone through these resources, I suggest you take a practice exam if you feel unsure and want to test yourself first. You can register for a practice exam here.

Job Market

Once you obtain this certification, your potential compensation will greatly depend on years of experience, the country in which you are working, and your employer. But for a cloud engineer with a proven track record, including having the Google Associate Cloud Engineer certification, the average yearly salary ranges from $80,000 to $150,000, which will increase with your experience. Having validated your skills by acquiring this certification, you increase your chances of gaining employment quickly with competitive compensation packages.


The Google Associate Cloud Engineer certification will prepare you to deploy applications, monitor operations, and manage enterprise solutions to ensure performance and configure access and security on Google Cloud.

Having hands-on experience will increase your chances of passing the exam. To better prepare, try completing as many hands-on labs as you can to familiarize yourself with different scenarios, such as deploying, monitoring, and securing cloud solutions.

That’s all! Now you can go ahead and dive right into this exam preparation. Using the available Pluralsight courses and some hands-on practice labs, you can be on your way to becoming a certified Google Associate Cloud Engineer.