My Journey to Becoming a GCP Certified Professional Cloud Architect

Mohammad S Rahman
10 min readJun 27, 2023
Photo by Matt Howard on Unsplash

Introduction

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, cloud computing has emerged as the backbone of modern business operations. As organisations strive for scalability, agility, and cost-efficiency, cloud architects have become indispensable in designing and implementing robust cloud solutions. The demand for skilled cloud architects capable of architecting scalable and secure solutions has soared to new heights. Take a look at some recent job adverts from leading companies, highlighting the key skills and responsibilities sought after in cloud architects:

Cloud Solution Architect

Job on Indeed

I am privileged to share my personal journey of becoming a certified cloud architect in such a high-demand field.

With several years of hands-on experience in the cloud industry, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of cloud computing. As businesses increasingly migrate their operations to the cloud, the demand for skilled cloud architects capable of architecting scalable and secure solutions has soared to new heights.

My passion for cloud computing was ignited during the early stages of my career. The potential to harness the vast resources and capabilities of cloud platforms captivated my imagination, driving me to delve deeper into the intricacies of cloud architecture. It was during this exploration that I encountered two industry-leading platforms — GCP and AWS — that stood out for their comprehensive suite of services and their ability to cater to a diverse range of business requirements.

Motivated by my ambition to master both GCP and AWS, I embarked on a challenging journey of continuous learning and professional growth. My goal was clear: to become a certified cloud architect proficient in architecting and deploying solutions on GCP and AWS, empowering organisations to leverage the full potential of these cloud platforms.

In the following sections, I will take you through the pivotal moments, challenges, and triumphs that shaped my path to becoming a certified cloud architect. From acquiring in-depth knowledge of GCP and AWS services to designing and implementing real-world cloud solutions, I have navigated a dynamic and ever-evolving landscape to sharpen my skills and broaden my expertise.

Join me as I recount the experiences, lessons, and achievements that have defined my journey to becoming a cloud architect proficient in GCP. Together, we will explore the challenges and rewards of working with one of the leading cloud platforms and delve into the practical application of cloud architecture principles in real-world scenarios.

As the cloud revolution continues to shape the future of technology, my hope is that my journey will inspire and empower others to embrace the limitless possibilities of cloud computing. Whether you are a budding cloud enthusiast, a fellow cloud architect, or an organisation seeking to unlock the full potential of GCP , I invite you to embark on this exhilarating journey with me. Let us embrace the power of cloud architecture and propel our careers and businesses to new heights.

Discovering the World of Cloud Computing

During my early years as a software engineer striving for continuous improvement and faster time to production, I found myself exploring the vast possibilities offered by cloud technologies. In my quest to optimise workflows and enhance scalability, I stumbled upon two game-changers: Docker and Kubernetes. These powerful tools ignited a spark within me, unraveling a world where software deployment and management became seamless and efficient. Witnessing the remarkable impact that cloud technologies had on accelerating development cycles, I realised that this was just the tip of the iceberg. Cloud computing held the key to unlocking even greater potential. The allure of leveraging cloud platforms to orchestrate and scale applications enticed me further, captivating my imagination and propelling me towards a deeper exploration of the cloud architecture domain.

Driven by my passion for cloud computing and armed with the knowledge of Docker, Kubernetes, and their transformative impact on software development, I set my sights on a significant milestone in my career: becoming a Certified Professional Cloud Architect. Recognising the growing demand for skilled cloud architects and understanding the value of industry-recognised certifications, I knew that achieving this prestigious title would not only validate my expertise but also open doors to new opportunities and professional growth. The GCP Certified Professional Cloud Architect certification stood out as the ideal goal, offering a comprehensive and in-depth examination of cloud architecture principles, design patterns, and hands-on experience with Google Cloud Platform. With unwavering determination, I committed myself to mastering the intricacies of cloud architecture, eager to become a trusted advisor capable of architecting scalable, secure, and cost-efficient cloud solutions.

Preparing for the Certification Journey

To embark on my path towards becoming a GCP Certified Professional Cloud Architect, I recognised the importance of thorough preparation and a structured study plan. Drawing inspiration from the official Google Cloud Platform (GCP) guide, I carefully curated my approach to ensure comprehensive coverage of the exam objectives. Here are the key steps I followed to prepare for the certification journey:

1. Understanding the Exam Guide:
I started by thoroughly reviewing the official GCP Certified Professional Cloud Architect exam guide provided by Google. This document outlined the exam format, domains covered, and the specific skills and knowledge required to succeed. Familiarising myself with the exam guide helped me gain clarity on the expectations and set the foundation for my study plan.

2. Leveraging Official Documentation and Learning Resources:
Google Cloud Platform offers a wealth of official documentation, white papers, and online resources specifically designed to support certification candidates. I delved into the extensive library of GCP documentation, exploring topics such as architecture best practices, networking, security, and data management. The official GCP training courses and practice exams provided valuable insights and hands-on experience, allowing me to reinforce my understanding of core concepts and exam objectives.

3. Hands-On Experience with GCP Services:
Recognising the significance of practical experience, I actively engaged with GCP services to gain hands-on proficiency. I set up my own GCP account and experimented with different services and configurations, putting theory into practice. By working on real-world scenarios and challenges, I honed my skills in architecting solutions using GCP services, which proved invaluable during the exam.

4. Joining Study Groups and Engaging with the Community:
To foster a collaborative learning environment, I sought out study groups and communities dedicated to GCP certification preparation. Connecting with like-minded individuals allowed me to exchange knowledge, discuss complex topics, and benefit from different perspectives. Participating in study sessions, forums, and webinars enabled me to stay motivated, gain valuable insights, and access additional study materials recommended by experienced professionals.

5. Practicing with Sample Questions and Mock Exams:
To gauge my readiness and familiarise myself with the exam format, I dedicated time to solving sample questions and taking mock exams. These resources, often provided by GCP or reputable third-party providers, helped me simulate the exam environment and identify areas where I needed further improvement. Analyzing my performance in these practice assessments allowed me to refine my knowledge and exam-taking strategies.

6. Continuous Learning and Review:
Throughout my preparation journey, I adopted a continuous learning mindset. I regularly revisited key concepts, revising and reinforcing my understanding of GCP services, architectural patterns, and best practices. I made use of flashcards, study notes, and self-created summaries to consolidate my knowledge and ensure retention of important information.

By diligently following these steps and staying committed to my study plan, I felt confident in my preparedness to tackle the challenges of the GCP Certified Professional Cloud Architect certification exam. The comprehensive study materials, hands-on experience, and support from the GCP community were instrumental in equipping me with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed on this certification journey.

To complement my theoretical knowledge and reinforce my understanding of Google Cloud Platform (GCP) services, I turned to the SkillsBoost Cloud Architecture path — a comprehensive and hands-on learning resource. This guided learning path offered a curated collection of interactive labs and exercises specifically designed to enhance practical proficiency in GCP.

I signed up for Google Cloud’s Innovators Plus program, which provided a full year’s membership for $300, including one exam voucher. This program was instrumental in enhancing my skills and knowledge as a cloud architect. It offered exclusive access to a range of valuable resources, including on-demand courses, labs, webinars, technical support, mentorship, early access to new features, and networking opportunities. The program not only supported my preparation for the GCP Certified Professional Cloud Architect certification exam but also provided a platform to showcase my thought leadership and engage with a vibrant community of professionals. The affordable membership fee and inclusion of an exam certificate made it an exceptional opportunity that I couldn’t resist. It allowed me to maximise my learning experience, gain valuable insights, and further solidify my expertise as a cloud architect.

By immersing myself in the SkillsBoost Cloud Architecture path, I gained invaluable hands-on experience working with various GCP services. Here’s how this resource helped me on my certification journey:

1. Structured Learning Path:
The SkillsBoost Cloud Architecture path provided a well-structured and sequential learning path that aligned perfectly with the exam objectives. It allowed me to systematically build my knowledge from foundational concepts to more advanced topics, ensuring a solid understanding of GCP services and their architectural applications.

2. Interactive Labs:
The path featured a rich collection of interactive labs, allowing me to gain practical experience by actually using GCP services in a simulated environment. These labs provided step-by-step instructions, enabling me to create and configure cloud resources, set up networking, manage security, and deploy applications using GCP services. By actively engaging with the labs, I developed a deep understanding of how to implement and leverage GCP services in real-world scenarios.

3. Real-World Use Cases:
The SkillsBoost Cloud Architecture path incorporated real-world use cases and practical examples, illustrating how GCP services can be utilised to address common architectural challenges. These use cases helped me develop a problem-solving mindset, enabling me to identify appropriate services and design effective solutions for different scenarios. By working through these use cases, I gained confidence in my ability to architect scalable, resilient, and cost-effective cloud solutions using GCP.

4. Immediate Feedback and Guidance:
One of the most valuable aspects of the SkillsBoost Cloud Architecture path was the instant feedback and guidance it provided. As I completed the labs and exercises, I received real-time feedback on my actions, allowing me to quickly correct any mistakes or misconceptions. This immediate feedback mechanism ensured that I grasped the concepts correctly and reinforced my understanding of best practices.

5. Reinforcement of Key Concepts:
The path offered regular knowledge checks and quizzes, allowing me to assess my understanding of the material and reinforce key concepts. These interactive assessments ensured that I retained the information I learned throughout the path, boosting my confidence and readiness for the certification exam.

Through the SkillsBoost Cloud Architecture path, I was able to bridge the gap between theory and practical application. The hands-on experience gained from working with GCP services in a guided and structured environment proved instrumental in developing my skills as a cloud architect. It equipped me with the necessary expertise to architect robust and scalable solutions on GCP, reinforcing my preparation for the certification exam.

By leveraging the SkillsBoost Cloud Architecture path and actively engaging with its labs and exercises, I solidified my practical proficiency in GCP services and developed the confidence to tackle real-world cloud architecture challenges.

Exam Experience and Lessons Learned

The day of the GCP Certified Professional Cloud Architect exam arrived, and I felt a mix of nervous anticipation and excitement. I leveraged a Cheat Sheet to recap on all cloud resources by google. Drawing on the knowledge and skills I had acquired throughout my preparation journey, I entered the exam room with a sense of confidence. The exam presented a series of real-world scenarios and architectural challenges, requiring me to apply my understanding of GCP services, design principles, and best practices.

Throughout the exam, I encountered a diverse range of questions that tested not only my theoretical knowledge but also my ability to analyse complex requirements and architect appropriate solutions. The time pressure added an extra layer of intensity, emphasizing the importance of effective time management and staying focused. However, thanks to my extensive preparation and hands-on experience, I was able to navigate through the exam with composure and address each question thoughtfully.

Reflecting on my exam experience, I realised the significance of a few key lessons:

1. Comprehensive Understanding:
The exam emphasised the importance of having a comprehensive understanding of the various GCP services and their interrelationships. It is essential to grasp how different services can be combined to create robust, scalable, and secure architectures.

2. Architectural Design Patterns:
A strong grasp of architectural design patterns proved crucial in addressing the exam’s scenario-based questions. Especially answearing questions based on the Case Studies. Understanding the pros and cons of different design patterns, such as microservices, serverless, and distributed systems, allowed me to choose the most suitable approach for each given situation.

3. Real-World Application:
The exam scenarios closely resembled real-world challenges faced by cloud architects. The ability to apply my knowledge in practical situations, considering factors like scalability, high availability, and cost optimisation, was vital for arriving at the most appropriate architectural decisions.

4. Time Management:
Time management was paramount during the exam. By carefully managing my time, I ensured that I allocated sufficient effort to each question and did not get stuck on a single problem. It is essential to pace oneself and maintain a steady rhythm throughout the exam.

Becoming a GCP Certified Professional Cloud Architect has been a transformative journey that has opened doors to exciting opportunities and expanded my career horizons. The certification not only validated my expertise but also gave me the confidence to tackle complex cloud architecture challenges head-on.

As I continue my professional journey, I aim to further refine my skills, stay updated with the latest advancements in cloud technology, and explore emerging areas such as machine learning and data analytics on GCP. Additionally, I aspire to contribute to the cloud community by sharing my knowledge, mentoring aspiring cloud architects, and actively participating in industry events and conferences.

To those considering a career as a cloud architect or pursuing the GCP Certified Professional Cloud Architect certification, I encourage you to embrace the journey wholeheartedly. Dedicate time to comprehensive learning, leverage practical hands-on experience, and seek support from the vast resources and communities available. The cloud computing landscape is constantly evolving, and the demand for skilled cloud architects continues to soar. By embarking on this certification journey, you position yourself at the forefront of innovation and empower organisations to harness the full potential of cloud technologies.

In conclusion, my journey towards becoming a GCP Certified Professional Cloud Architect has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience. It has equipped me with the expertise, confidence, and industry recognition necessary to architect scalable, secure, and efficient solutions on Google Cloud Platform. I am excited to continue pushing the boundaries of cloud architecture, driving innovation, and contributing to the transformative power of cloud computing.

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Mohammad S Rahman

Experienced Cloud Architect with strong software engineering and DevOps skills