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Victor Dantas

Cloud Certifications: GC Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer

Victor Dantas

  • Jul 13, 2020
  • 10 Min read
  • 635 Views
  • Jul 13, 2020
  • 10 Min read
  • 635 Views
Cloud
Cloud DevOps
DevOps
Google Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer

Introduction

While Google Cloud’s revenue base is lower than that of Microsoft and Amazon, its growth rate is higher, according to a recent April 2020 analysis by cloudwars.co. This has put Google Cloud certifications in the spotlight lately, with employers showing increasing interest in certified GC professionals. In addition, with the accelerated adoption rate of DevOps practices across several industry verticals, the GC Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer certification can be considered one of the most attractive certifications at the moment. This guide provides information and resources on the certification and some tips for the exam.

Who This Certification Is For

This certification is for professionals who are skilled at using GC to build software delivery pipelines, deploy and monitor services, and manage and learn from incidents. You as a DevOps engineer should be responsible for efficient development operations that can balance reliability and delivery speed.

The recommended experience level for achieving this certification is, according to Google, three or more years of industry experience including at least one year managing solutions on GC.

What This Certification Is For

This certification provides value and confidence to both employers and employees by validating and demonstrating an individual's ability to:

  • Apply site reliability engineering principles to a service
  • Optimize service performance
  • Implement service monitoring strategies
  • Build and implement CI/CD pipelines for a service
  • Manage service incidents

In today's competitive cloud marketplace, a professional cloud certification is a key differentiator.

Applicable Exams

To earn this certification, you need to pass a single exam:

  • Google Cloud - Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer Certification Exam

This exam is designed to determine only whether or not an individual meets a minimum passing standard. For that reason, you do not receive a score or any feedback after taking the exam (other than whether you passed or failed it).

Prerequisites

Although it is a professional-level certification, there are no prerequisites for taking the Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer exam.

It is, however, a comprehensive and technical exam that will require you to have experience and/or have done extensive studies on DevOps and Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) with GC.

Skills Measured

The following skills are within the scope of the exam:

  • Applying site reliability engineering principles to a service
    • Balance change, velocity, and reliability of the service
    • Manage service life cycle
    • Ensure healthy communication and collaboration for operations
  • Building and implementing CI/CD pipelines for a service
    • Design CI/CD pipelines
    • Implement CI/CD pipelines
    • Manage configuration and secrets
    • Manage infrastructure as code
    • Deploy CI/CD tooling
    • Manage different development environments (e.g., staging, production, etc.)
    • Secure the deployment pipeline
  • Implementing service monitoring strategies
    • Manage application logs
    • Manage application metrics with Stackdriver Monitoring
    • Manage Stackdriver Monitoring platform
    • Manage Stackdriver Logging platform
    • Implement logging and monitoring access controls
  • Optimizing service performance
    • Identify service performance issues
    • Debug application code
    • Optimize resource utilization
  • Managing service incidents
    • Coordinate roles and implement communication channels during a service incident
    • Investigate incident symptoms impacting users with Stackdriver IRM
    • Mitigate incident impact on users
    • Resolve issues (e.g., Cloud Build, Jenkins)
    • Document issue in a postmortem

Check out the Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer exam guide for more details on the topics and the latest updates on the list.

Helpful Resources

Below are some resources to help you prepare for the exam:

  • Understanding DevOps: A Pluralsight learning path with DevOps-related courses at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. It also includes a Skill IQ test with which you can measure your current level of understanding of DevOps.
  • Reliable Google Cloud Infrastructure: Design and Process: This course touches on several of the topics covered by the exam and it's a great resource for learning about modern design patterns with GC.
  • Site Reliability Engineering book and workbook: A free book (and workbook) that you can read online. It explains in detail how Google does site reliability engineering and it can be a great resource in preparation for the exam, if you have the time to read it.
  • Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer Practice Exam: Official practice exam to help you prepare for the kind of questions you will see in the real exam.
  • Google Cloud Free Trial: A sign up page for a free trial of GC that includes US$300 of usage credit over a period of 12 months. It can be a great way to get more hands-on practice and solidify concepts.

Compensation and Employment Outlook

In a 2020 Tech Salary Report by tech career website Dice, both Cloud Engineer and DevOps Engineer were amongst the top paying occupations, and also saw the biggest increases in salary and job postings between 2018 and 2019. The average salary for a DevOps Engineer was at US$117,478 in 2019, an increase of 5.2% from the previous year.

In addition, according to survey responses from the Global Knowledge 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report, 30% of Google Cloud certified professionals took on more responsibility or leadership roles at work.

The employment outlook and negotiation potential for a DevOps Engineer seems very promising as companies struggle to hire individuals with that kind of competence. In a Mashable infographic listing the top ten hardest hires for tech companies based on data from recruitment website Indeed, DevOps Engineer is listed at the top as the most difficult role for companies to fill. So it's reasonable to expect that within the next couple of years there will be further boosts in salary and career prospects for DevOps professionals. Paired with Google Cloud's growth, the Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer certification has great potential for future-proofing your career.

The Certification Path

This certification is one of GC's professional certifications, which are described by Google as certifications that "span key technical job functions and assess advanced skills in design, implementation, and management".

GC Certification Path

Since there are no prerequisites for taking the certification exam, and since it is not itself a prerequisite for any others, this certification is not part of a larger certification path. It could be the one certification to aim for if you are a DevOps engineer working with GC.

Conclusion

The adoption of Google Cloud is growing and with it the demand for experienced GC professionals. The role of DevOps Engineer has also been in high demand, with great salary growth prospects given the difficulty companies are facing in finding such competency. This all makes the GC Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer certification a very attractive one, especially considering the relatively low barrier to getting certified, with a single exam and no prerequisite. For professionals experienced with Google Cloud and skilled in building software delivery pipelines, deploying and monitoring services, and site reliability engineering practices, this could be a great certification to obtain and showcase your knowledge.

Finally, if you decide to take the exam, here are some tips for passing it:

  • Take the Performing Foundational Tasks in Google Cloud Platform skill assessment to find out what your current skill level is with GC.
  • Also take the Understanding DevOps skill assessment to see where you are in your understanding of DevOps in general. Once you identify your knowledge gaps, create a study plan that focuses on your weak areas.
  • Take the time to understand Google's approach to DevOps, which is known as Site Reliability Engineering (SRE). Although the principles are largely the same, SRE is a particular implementation of DevOps and there are certain concepts that are important to understand for the exam.
  • If you've never taken a GC exam before, the official practice exam is a great way to get familiar with the exam format. Also make sure you practice time management, as you will have two hours for completing the exam.

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