Is the Google Professional Cloud Architect Worth It?
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Is the Google Professional Cloud Architect Worth It?

You've probably heard of Google. They're a spunky little start-up whose search engine became so popular that it's apparently against the rules to say you're "googling something" at Microsoft. If you ever make a product that forces one of the richest companies on the planet to forbid its employees from referring to it, you're probably doing okay. But it's been a long time since all that Google was well known for was its search engine. 

Google has developed its own little empire of internet-based productivity and networking solutions. Google Professional Cloud Architects are IT professionals who understand all of Google Cloud's many, many technologies and match the right tool with their company's needs. 

It would be a huge understatement to compare a Google Professional Cloud Architect's knowledge to having a really good tool belt. Google Cloud has so much to offer, that it's more accurate to say that Google Professional Cloud Architects have a Home Depot's worth of tools, equipment and solutions in their pocket.

What is the Google Professional Cloud Architect?

The Google Professional Cloud Architect is an IT industry certification offered by Google to prove which network architects have the deepest and widest familiarity with the huge suite of tools and technologies that Google Cloud has to offer. A Google Professional Cloud Architect is a certified expert in leveraging Google Cloud technologies for organizations and companies of any size.

A Google Professional Cloud Architect knows how to design, develop and manage dynamic cloud-based solutions that are robust, secure, scalable, highly available and dynamic to each company's needs. But that's not all. Not only is a Google Professional Cloud Architect deeply familiar with all of Google's cloud solutions, but they know how to capture and document an organization's business objectives and apply the right solutions to each need.

A Google Professional Cloud Architect isn't simply a one-size-fits-all solution. They're deeply familiar with how different Google Cloud tools interact with one another and can select the right combinations of technologies for unique business requirements. Earning the Google Professional Cloud Architect requires passing the Professional Cloud Architect exam.

What are the Google Professional Cloud Architect Exam Objectives?

The Google Professional Cloud Architect exam is a 2-hour exam offered in English and Japanese. After you pass it, you have two years before you have to retake it. The exam covers six major learning objectives: 

  • Section 1: Designing and planning a cloud solution architecture
  • Section 2: Managing and provisioning a solution infrastructure
  • Section 3: Designing for security and compliance
  • Section 4: Analyzing and optimizing technical and business processes
  • Section 5: Managing implementation
  • Section 6: Ensuring solution and operations reliability

As you can see from those six sections, the Google Professional Cloud Architect is someone with a blend of hard and soft skills. A technical expert in implementing cloud solutions, a Google Professional Cloud Architect is also familiar with how to survey a company's needs and choose the approaches that will meet unique business requirements without sacrificing speed, security, or cost.

On top of all that, the Google Professional Cloud Architect exam also expects a level of critical thinking from applicants. The exam includes fictional recreations of possible implementations. Passing the test doesn't just require proving that you know the use case and implementation methods for all the Google Cloud utilities and tools, but also showing you have the critical thinking skills to choose the right solutions for different companies with different budgets, networks, company values, and location.

How Much Does the Google Professional Cloud Architect Exam Cost?

The Google Professional Cloud Architect exam costs $200 USD. Because there's a 2-year renewal window, you should be prepared to pay the $200 every two years if you want to maintain the certification. There's no additional application fee or service fee for earning the Google Professional Cloud Architect – once you pass the sole exam, Google awards you the certification.

What Experience Do You Need for the Google Professional Cloud Architect?

There are no formal prerequisites for taking the Google Professional Cloud Architect exam, so you can attempt it at any time. Nevertheless, Google recommends that you have at least three (3) years of industry experience developing networks and at least one (1) year of experience specifically designing and managing solutions using Google Cloud.

Before attempting the Google Professional Cloud Architect, you should have experience with designing and planning a company's cloud architectures from the ground up. You don't need to have real-world experience doing this, but at the very least you should have practiced. You'll need to know the technical implementation behind actually managing and provisioning cloud solution infrastructures before you attempt the Google Professional Cloud Architect exam.

You don't need to be a certified cybersecurity expert, but you should have extensive familiarity with designing architectures for security and governance compliance. One of the more abstract topics the Google Professional Cloud Architect exam tests you on is analyzing and optimizing technical and business solutions in the real world. 

A successful candidate for the Google Professional Cloud Architect will have managed implementations of cloud architecture in a real-world setting. And last, you should know how to ensure solution and operations reliability in your cloud architectures.

Who Should Take the Google Professional Cloud Architect?

Even though it has no formal prerequisites, the Google Professional Cloud Architect is an advanced certification that IT professionals should only consider once they have substantial experience under their belts. The Google Professional Cloud Architect is best for network and cloud administrators, network solutions architects, and network and cloud architects. 

Is Google Professional Cloud Architect Worth It for Network Administrators or Cloud Administrators?

Yes, the Google Professional Cloud Architect is worth it for both network administrators and cloud administrators, but experience is key for both, as is how far along in your career you are. Preparing for the Google Professional Cloud Architect exam will help network administrators learn just how much potential exists in the cloud, especially if you work on a hybrid network or your company wants to move in that direction.

For cloud administrators, the Google Professional Cloud Architect is aspirational, but still definitely worth it. Most cloud administrators won't have a lot of experience designing and planning complete cloud network architectures. But you can get practice and experience by preparing for the Google Professional Cloud Architect.

Is Google Professional Cloud Architect Worth It for Network Solutions Architects?

The Google Professional Cloud Architect is worth it for most network solutions architects, but whether or not a different certification might be more worth it depends on the scope of your network and whether cloud solutions are viable. If you work on a network for a service provider or provide mostly on-premises support, proving you have a mastery of Google Cloud's many cloud solutions may not be a critical career tool.

On the other hand, if the network solutions you can plan and manage include using Google Cloud tools, the Google Professional Cloud Architect is a great certification for a network solutions architect to earn. 

Is Google Professional Cloud Architect Worth It for a Network or Cloud Architect?

Yes, the Google Professional Cloud Architect is definitely worth it for cloud architects – and not just because it's right there in the name. If you're working as a network or cloud architect, you're at a point in your career where you're not simply implementing minor technical solutions and configurations. Network and cloud architects are responsible for onboarding new solutions, decreasing infrastructure administration costs across the board, accommodating legacy interfaces and infrastructures, and more.

The Google Professional Cloud Architect is worth it for cloud architects because it's a holistic certification that evaluates the knowledge, skills and experience of a cloud architect and backs it up with Google's name.

Is the Google Professional Cloud Architect Worth It?

The Google Professional Cloud Architect is worth it for most administrators and network architects. It's a great certification for IT professionals nearing the top of the career ladder, but even if you're pretty early in your career, it's worth it because the certification validates your ability to think on your feet, be creative with technological solutions, and think critically about network operations. 

Using Google Professional Cloud Architect to Learn Skills

It requires a rare combination of many skills to know how to analyze a company's business objectives, consider their current technological footprint and plan a network architecture that improves speed and reliability while cutting down on costs. A Google Professional Cloud Architect is a certified expert in doing all that and more.

If that level of technical and managerial know-how is appealing to you but you don't think you're at that level yet, don't despair. You can use the Google Professional Cloud Architect as a benchmark to work toward. You can use the Google Professional Cloud Architect to identify the skills you need to perfect on your way to becoming an expert cloud architect who can bring all of Google's cloud utilities to bear on a company's problems.

Using Google Professional Cloud Architect to Validate Skills

Some people pursue the Google Professional Cloud Architect certification to learn everything they need to be an excellent architect for their business' networks. But other people pursue it to prove that they already are. Maybe over the course of the last several years, you've learned the ins and outs of Google Cloud's utilities and tools. Maybe you've fought tooth and nail to learn how to think creatively with all of Google Cloud solutions and apply them to networks.

Earning the Google Professional Cloud Architect certification proves that you're one of the most versatile and accomplished cloud solutions architects in the industry. The Google Professional Cloud Architect is worth it for proving your skills to employers and validating that you're ready to apply the power of Google to their network.

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