A Complete Google Certification Guide
A Complete Google Certification Guide
| training | certification paths - Michael Hess

A Complete Google Certification Guide

Cloud computing is part of most enterprise IT strategies and public cloud offerings from Amazon, Microsoft and Google feature high on the list of technologies selected. While Google’s cloud offerings — Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and the G Suite set of office productivity apps — trail their AWS and Azure competitors, Google’s CEO has claimed that it is the fastest growing major public cloud provider in the world.

In addition to the Google Cloud Platform, Google’s Android system is an “800 pound gorilla” in mobile operating systems and a favorite for mobile app development. The story with G Suite is not as positive, as Google competes against Microsoft’s Office and Office365 franchise — but even there Google is making inroads.

With this background, it’s no surprise that Google has been busy promoting its Google Cloud Certification and Google Developer Certification programs as a way to promote user adoption of the Google Cloud Platform and — separately — growth of Android-based mobile phone and tablet apps.

The CBT Nuggets Google Certification Guide is a comprehensive introduction to the various Google IT professional certificate paths for Google Cloud Certification and Google Developer Certification, included in these sections:

  • What are Google Cloud and Developer Certifications?
  • Google Cloud Certifications
  • Google Developers Certifications
  • How Much Does It Cost to Get Google Certified?
  • Google Recertification and Renewal
  • Google Certification Salary and Career Information
  • Google Cloud Certification vs AWS Certification
  • Google Certification Training

What are Google Cloud and Developer Certifications?

Google Cloud Platform represents a small part of Google’s overall product and services offerings, trailing its search and advertising offerings. There are numerous Google certifications for search, web advertising, and education. For example, Google Certified Level 1 certification validates a teacher’s proficiency in using Google tools in their classroom. This guide does not concern itself with search or advertising, but is focused instead on Google certification programs related to Google cloud technology (including G Suite) and development certifications.

Google offers eight certifications:

  • Google Associate Cloud Engineer
  • Google Professional Cloud Architect
  • Google Professional Data Engineer
  • Google Professional Cloud Security Engineer
  • Google Professional Cloud Network Engineer
  • Google Professional Cloud Developer
  • Google Professional Collaboration Engineer
  • Google G Suite

Google Cloud certifications begin with an Associate-level certification, for those new to IT or to the Google Cloud Platform. Beyond that, we go to Professional-level Google tech certification accreditations, for more experienced IT professionals — in roles such as data engineers, cloud architects, and collaboration engineers.

The Google Cloud certification in G Suite is separate from the associate- and professional-level Google certifications list. With G Suite certification, the target is office productivity specialists — typically help desk people — rather than hard-core IT folks.

Finally, the Google Developer certifications — Google Associate Android Developer and Google Mobile Web Specialist — focus on validating the proficiency and skill of mobile app developers.

Google Associate Cloud Engineer (ACE)

The Google Associate Cloud Engineer certification is designed for IT professionals who new IT professionals, or for junior-level people who are new to cloud computing and the Google Cloud Platform.

The ACE exam validates a candidate’s understanding of both general and GCP-specific cloud topics including:

  • Set up a cloud solution environment
  • Plan and configure a cloud solution
  • Deploy and implement a cloud solution
  • Ensure successful operation of a cloud solution
  • Configure access and security

Required exam: Earning the Google ACE certification requires passing one exam — the Associate Cloud Engineer (ACE) exam.

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Google recommends that candidates have 6 or more months of hands-on experience with the Google Cloud Platform.

Google Professional Cloud Architect (PCA)

The Google Professional Cloud Architect certification is designed for IT professionals who design, develop, and manage secure, scalable, high-availability cloud solutions based on the GCP.

The Google PCA exam validates a candidate’s understanding of both general and GCP-specific cloud topics including:

  • Design and plan a cloud solution architecture
  • Manage and provision the cloud solution infrastructure
  • Design for security and compliance
  • Analyze and optimize technical and business processes
  • Manage implementations of cloud architecture
  • Ensure solution and operations reliability

Required exam: Earning the Google PCA certification requires passing one exam — the Professional Cloud Architect (PCA) exam.

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Google recommends that candidates have more than 3 years of industry experience, including at least one year designing and managing GCP-based solutions.

Google Professional Data Engineer (PDE)

The Google Professional Data Engineer certification is designed for IT professionals who design and implement data processing systems, as well as to deploy operational machine learning models on the Google Cloud Platform.

The Google PDE exam validates a candidate’s understanding of both general and GCP-specific data processing and analysis topics including:

  • Design data processing systems
  • Build and operationalize data processing systems
  • Operationalize machine learning models
  • Ensure solution quality

Required exam: Earning the Google PDE certification requires passing one exam — the Professional Data Engineer (PDE) exam.

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Google recommends that candidates have more than 3 years of industry experience, including more than one year designing and managing GCP-based solutions.

Google Professional Cloud Security Engineer (PCSE)

The Google Professional Cloud Security Engineer Certification is designed for security analysts, engineers, and architects who design and implement secure infrastructures on the Google Cloud Platform.

In order to pass the exam for this Google tech certification, a security professional must have a thorough understanding of the Google Cloud Platform and Google Security Technologies, as well as an excellent grounding in IT security in general. They must have the skills and knowledge to configure and manage GCP security technologies as part of a secure cloud infrastructure.

The Google CSE exam validates a candidate’s understanding of both general and GCP-specific security topics including:

  • Configure access within a cloud solution environment
  • Configure network security
  • Ensure data protection
  • Manage operations within a cloud solution environment
  • Ensure compliance

Required exam: Earning the Google PCSE certification requires passing one exam — the Professional Cloud Security Engineer (PCSE) exam.

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Google recommends that candidates have more than 3 years of industry experience, including more than one year designing, managing, and securing GCP-based solutions.

Google Professional Cloud Network Engineer (PCNE)

The Google Professional Cloud Network Engineer certification is designed for network engineers and architects who implement, manage, and optimize network architectures on the Google Cloud Platform. Candidates should have experience implementing VPCs, hybrid connectivity, network services, and security for established network architectures.

The Google PCNE exam validates a candidate’s understanding of both general and GCP-specific networking topics including:

  • Design, plan, and prototype a GCP network
  • Implement a GCP virtual private cloud (VPC)
  • Configure network services
  • Implement hybrid interconnectivity
  • Implement network security

Required exam: Earning the Google PCNE certification requires passing one exam — the Professional Cloud Network Engineer (PCNE) exam.

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Google recommends that candidates have more than 3 years of industry experience, including one or more year of hands-on experience designing, deploying, and managing GCP-based networked solutions.

Google Professional Cloud Developer (PCD)

The Google Professional Cloud Developer certification is designed for app developers who design and build applications to run on the GCP. Candidates should have experience with GCP products such as Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, Security key enforcement, and BigQuery.

The Google PCD exam validates a candidate’s understanding of both general and GCP-specific development topics including:

  • Design highly scalable, available, and reliable cloud-native applications
  • Build and test applications
  • Deploy applications
  • Integrate Google Cloud Platform services
  • Manage application performance monitoring

Required exam: Earning the Google PCD certification requires passing one exam — the Professional Cloud Developer (PCD) exam.

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Google recommends that candidates have more than 3 years of industry experience, including more than one year designing and managing GCP-based solutions.

Google Professional Collaboration Engineer (PCE)

The Google Professional Collaboration Engineer certification is designed for IT professionals and collaboration engineers who help improve business efficiencies and office productivity by leveraging GSuite and the Google Cloud toolset. Candidates should also know GCP tools, programming languages, and APIs to automate workflows to increase operational efficiency.

The exam for the Google Professional Collaboration Engineer (PCE) validates the candidate’s ability to:

  • Plan and implement G Suite authorization and access
  • Manage user, resource, and Team Drive lifecycles
  • Manage electronic mail
  • Control and configure G Suite services
  • Configure and manage endpoint access
  • Monitor organizational operations
  • Advance G Suite adoption and collaboration

Required exam: Earning the Google PCE certification requires passing one exam — the Professional Collaboration Engineer (PCE) exam.

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Google recommends that candidates have more than 3 years of industry experience, including one or more year working with G Suite and designing and managing GCP-based solutions.

Google G Suite Certification

The Google G Suite certification is designed for IT and business professionals who use the core tools and services in the Google G Suite application portfolio. This Google certification denotes that the candidate has the proven ability to complete common workplace activities using cloud-based tools to create and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and files.

The Google G Suite exam validates the candidate’s proficiency in key features of the G Suite platform:

  • Drive
  • Gmail
  • Hangouts Meet
  • Docs
  • Sheets
  • Forms
  • Slides

Required exam: Earning the Google G Suite certification requires passing one exam — the Google G Suite Certification exam.

Prerequisites: None.

Recommended experience: Google recommends that candidates have more than 3 years of industry experience, including one or more year working with G Suite solutions.

Google Developers Certifications

As with other high tech vendors, Google sees tremendous value in having a vibrant network of developers who are certified to build apps using Google Android and web technologies.

For employers, the Google Developers Certifications validate the proficiency and skills of prospective employees. Likewise, the Google developer certification program allows certified programmers to promote themselves to employers, projects, and communities. Google certified developers are featured in Google’s official certification directory and they can also download a digital certification mark that they can embed in their email signature, or in their LinkedIn, Twitter or other social media profiles.

Google offers two developer certifications:

  • Google Associate Android Developer Certification
  • Google Mobile Web Specialist Certification

Google Associate Android Developer (AAD)

The Google Associate Android Developer certification is designed for entry-level Android developers. The certification exam is performance-based, which means candidates will have to demonstrate proficiency through a number of coding challenges.

The Google Associate Android Developer exam validates a candidate’s understanding of these topics:

  • Use Android’s messaging, multitasking, connectivity and media services to design full-featured apps primarily for mobile devices
  • Quickly create apps with user interfaces that take advantage of Android’s rich UI frameworks
  • Leverage Android’s frameworks and techniques to perform or schedule data retrieval/storage efficiently in a mobile environment
  • Use Android Studio debugging tools
  • Test the execution of a running program and find Kills and abnormal or unexpected behavior

Required exam: Earning the Google Associate Android Developer certification requires passing one exam — the Google Associate Android Developer exam. The Google Associate Android Developer Certification exam consists of a coding project and an exit interview (in English). Candidates have up to eight hours to complete and upload the coding project and then they must record and upload a 10 to 15 minute video “exit interview”.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this Google developer certification, but candidates are required to be more than 13 years old and reside in a non-embargoed country.

Recommended experience: Google recommends that candidates have the coding proficiency of an entry-level Android developer.

Google Mobile Web Specialist Certification

The Google Mobile Web Specialist certification is designed for developers who create responsive and flexible web apps regardless of the platform. The certification exam is performance-based, which means candidates will have to demonstrate proficiency through a number of coding challenges.

The certification exam tests the candidate’s ability to solve the following types of coding challenges:

  • Build a web app’s responsive layout and style appropriate to the user’s device using only HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Use JavaScript to set up reliable front-end networking protocols with appropriate Kill handling
  • Use accessibility best practices to make web apps accessible to all users, including those with impairments
  • Create web apps that are available offline and provide a consistent, native-app-like experience
  • Audit an app’s performance to reduce page load times and maintain responsive user experiences
  • Write unit tests that verify expected behaviors and diagnose common web-app problems
  • Implement ES2015 syntax to perform common JavaScript tasks
  • Design efficient and secure web forms with basic HTML

Required exam: Earning the Google Mobile Web Specialist certification requires passing one exam — the Mobile Web Specialist exam. The Google Mobile Web Specialist Certification exam consists of a coding project and an exit interview (in English). Candidates have up to four hours to complete and upload the coding project and then they must record and upload a 10-minute video “exit interview”.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this Google developer certification, but candidates are required to be more than 13 years old and reside in a non-embargoed country.

Recommended experience: Google recommends that candidates be mobile web developers with 3 to 4 years of front-end web development experience, including Progressive Web Apps.

How Much Does It Cost to Get Google Certified?

The Google certification exam cost varies by level. The Google Cloud Certified Associate Cloud Engineer certification costs $125. Each Google Cloud Certified Professional certification costs $200. The G Suite Certification exam costs $75 and the Google developer certification exams for Associate Android Developer and Mobile Web Specialist Certification each cost $149.

Your total Google certification program cost will include costs for study materials and Google certification training courses that you take in preparation for taking the exam. Google provides many free exam preparation resources such as study guides, videos, and labs. However, you may incur costs for other study resources, so budget accordingly.

Google Recertification and Renewal

Because of the rate of technology change, Google certification programs — like most others nowadays — have expiration dates. While it may seem like a pain to have to recertify and renew your Google cloud certification or your Google developer certification, it does make sure that your credentials are current and valuable.

Google Cloud certifications are valid for two years from the date certified. All candidates must recertify in order to maintain their certification status. The Associate Android Developer and Mobile Web Specialist certifications expire 36 months from the date when candidates receive their digital badge. At or before expiration, candidates must complete the registration and certification process again in order to renew their certification.

Google Certification Salary and Career Information

Now your Google Cloud experience and certification will be just one indicator of the value that you bring to the table. Other factors such as regional cost-of-living, industry, and company size will play a big part in how much a job will pay. A July 2019 search of the Indeed.com/ job search site for full-time jobs requiring Google Cloud showed over ten thousand opportunities with annual salaries of $75k+ and over eight thousand with salaries over $100k.

Compensation data provider PayScale tracked salaries for employees with Google Cloud Platform expertise in the AppEngine and BigQuery products. These products are most closely related to the Google Professional Cloud Developer and Google Professional Data Engineer certifications. DevOps Engineers with Google AppEngine skills commanded average salaries of $75,000, while software engineers were averaging $95,000 to $105,000 depending on seniority. The average salary for professionals with Google BigQuery skills was $108,000 — Data Engineers averaged $95,000 and Architects $99,000. With the current interest in data analytics and big data, the Google Professional Data Engineer certification looks like a good bet financially.

Google Cloud Certification vs AWS Certification

Our purpose here is to compare the Google Cloud certification program with AWS certification, by looking at the comprehensiveness of the certification programs and the relative career opportunities.

AWS has an extensive multi-level certification program, with certifications for entry-level (Foundational), junior (Associate), early career (Professional), and senior-level (Specialty) personnel, while Google Certification is primarily focused on early-career professionals, with the Google Professional Cloud, Google Professional Data Engineer, and Google Professional Collaboration Engineer Certifications.

If you’re a developer, Google has a little more to offer, with the Google Professional Cloud Developer Certification (PCD) and the two Google developer certifications — the Google Associate Android Developer and the Google Mobile Web Specialist. Amazon has the AWS Certified Developer Associate which compares to the Google Professional Cloud Developer Certification.

So which certification path should you choose? The first question is which cloud platform does your current (or target) employer use? Question answered? If not, then AWS might be a more profitable certification path.

A July 2019 search of the job site Indeed.com/ showed four times as many jobs requiring AWS certification as jobs that required Google Cloud certification. Also with AWS certification, you have the opportunity to achieve higher level certifications as your career progresses. Google Cloud certification as yet does not support that career progression.

Google Certification Training

Good luck to you as you start on your Google certification path. Our course offerings do change from time-to-time as we support the Google certification roadmap, so be sure to check CBT Nuggets for new and updated Google certification video training courses.

All of our Google Cloud training contains built-in quizzes to help reinforce what you’re learning, as you learn. A CBT Nuggets subscription also includes access to Virtual Labs, which are designed by our industry-expert trainers to help learners gain hands-on experience in sandbox environments.

Our subscriptions also provide access to Kaplan® IT Training Practice Exams, which provide a baseline for learners to test their knowledge. These practice exams help learners evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, so they can pinpoint areas to focus on when studying. Kaplan® IT Training Practice Exams are an excellent way to determine Google certification readiness.

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