Navigating the Sea of Google Cloud Training
Last September, Google developed three new Google Certified Professional and Associate certifications to go support Google Cloud.
Alongside Google Cloud, Google announced a significant lineup of new cloud technologies and machine intelligence capabilities and services. They also announced G Suite, which is becoming seen as the revamped Google Apps for Work that combines all of the apps that you need to collaborate in a working environment.
It makes sense that new tracks of certifications came along with this upgrade. Changes in technology should spawn new certifications to validate your knowledge in that technology.
Here's a breakdown of Google's certification tracks and how they could help you grow as a cloud pro.
Google Certified Associate – G Suite Administrator
G Suite is your sysadmin's meat and potatoes, all the core communication and document management services offered by Google. If you have a personal Google account and have used Gmail, Calendar, or Drive, you'll be at home using these services immediately.
Administering these Google tools for all of your users is a little more involved and that's what this certification will test you on. User management, licensing, permissions, mail routing, calendar resources, and mobile policy are all essential parts of running your company's G Suite domain.
The certification involves a two-hour test taken online where you configure a dummy G Suite domain and it can be yours for $100 USD.
Google Certified Professional – Cloud Architect
The next two certifications aren't about Google services your grandma might recognize, like Gmail, but they do test skills necessary to build the apps she needs to send you her cat pictures. Let's first break down the Google Cloud Platform.
Google Cloud Platform is a set of cloud services and development tools. If you're familiar with Amazon Web Services at all, it's kinda like that. There is a good bit of overlap with virtual machine, app, and container services, which makes sense because they're competitors.
The Cloud Architect certification is all about building out apps (cloud-only or hybrid) and their infrastructure (compute, network, and storage) on Google Cloud Platform, while ensuring security of data and reliability of service.
Your test will be a bit more involved: four hours at a testing center after ponying up $100 USD.
Google Certified Professional – Data Engineer
Companies gather a lot of data, quantified by its volume, velocity, and variability. Analyzing this data reveals patterns and trends that can shape business strategies, but only at a great cost in terms of the resources and development required to mine it. A whole field has developed around this called Data Science, also known more colloquially as big data.
You must use a special set of skills and tools to work in this field, and Google delivers the latter with several Cloud Platform solutions. The Data Engineer certification covers these services and more, including machine learning, database administration, process analysis and optimization, and service reliability and security.
This test also requires up to four hours at a testing center and will put you back $120 USD.
All these certificates sound great for the IT pro either already working in any of these Google services or looking to grow and advance their career in them. Direct experience is the best teacher, but outside training always helps to prepare to sit for any exam.
To prep for the G Suite Administrator test, Google provides a free online course that covers every subject area, but Google recommends at least six months experience administering a domain before testing.
Three learning tracks also provide in-person or online classes, including CBT Nuggets training. The Cloud Infrastructure track provides a 30,000 foot view of all the Cloud Platform products. The two other learning tracks will build on that knowledge with more specific skills related to the Cloud Architect and Data Engineer certifications and will help prepare you for those tests.
There's no way around it, though, these classes are expensive and will require several days in class to complete, but CBT Nuggets is here to help the busy admin!
CBT Nuggets Google training courses are broken up into digestible chunks, perfect for grabbing a few over lunch or in the evenings. New courses are constantly being developed and updated, but there's already more than enough content live to get you going. If this cloud thing is completely new to you, there are primer courses to get your feet wet.
The Cloud: The Future Now
Cloud skills are hot as more companies leverage the scalability and cost savings to be found in public distributed computing. Google is but one platform leveraging this power. These are skills any IT pro will benefit from on any platform. The cloud is no longer a cool buzzword. It's a permanent fixture in the IT ecosphere. Users and communication will always need to be administered, distributed web apps will continue to replace locally installed apps, and data will continue to grow.
As services continue to move out of the data center and up to the cloud, we all owe it to ourselves to continuously learn and grow to keep pace with this new status quo.