20+Professional Google Cloud Architect Exam Tips in 2021

20+Professional Google Cloud Architect Exam Tips in 2021

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Google Cloud Architect Exam Tips #1

Read through the exam guide outline.


The outline communicates how an authority thinks about and organizes the skills required of a Professional Cloud Architect.

Training tends to be organized in a ramp; basic concepts first, building into more complex and difficult concepts later. The Exam Guide is not training. So it is not organized for learning, or by importance, or by process. It is organized according to how a group of experts thinks about the job.

There is no additional information about what any particular line means; no explanation.

Use the Exam Guide outline to help identity what to study.

The recommendation is for you to read through each line and think about what it actually means, what do you think it is saying about the job? Then ask yourself if you understand that aspect of the job and if you feel you have the skills required to be successful in that part of the job. If yes — great. It is an indicator that you are prepared. If no — take note. You may want to study additionally in that part or develop specific skills for that item in the Exam Guide.

Google Cloud Architect Exam Tips #2

Product and technology knowledge

You need to know the basic information about each product that might be covered on the exam.

You need to know:
  • What it does, why it exists.
  • What is special about its design, for what purpose or purposes was it optimized?
  • When do you use it, and what are the limits or bounds when it is time to consider an alternative?
  • What are the key features of this product or technology?
  • Is there an Open Source alternative? If so, what are the key benefits of the cloud-based service over the Open Source software?
Which products and technologies

Training and Certification meet at the JTA — the Job Task Analysis — the skills required of the job.

The scope of the exam matches the learning track and specialization in training. So a great place to derive a list of the technologies and products that might be on the exam is to look at all the products and technologies that are covered in the related training. The training might not cover everything. But it is a good place to start.

Study methods

Training is great. Digging into the online documentation can be very instructive and covers more detail than can be covered in a class, so documentation tends to have more equal coverage of features, whereas training has to prioritize its time. Getting hands-on experience can help you understand a product or technology much better than reading and is the kind of experience a professional in the job would have. So labs can be a great way to prepare.

Google Cloud Architect Exam Tips #3

Touchstone concepts

A touchstone concept is a complex or key idea – something that you would learn in a class AFTER you have learned all the basic dependent concepts. They are used in this course because they are a very efficient way for you to learn where you have confidence and where more preparation might be needed.

This approach is based on the Deeper Learning method of adult learning.


People seem to be able to relate well to this example.

Touchstone: “Unlike other vendor clouds, a subnet spans zones, enabling VMs with adjacent IPs to exist in separate zones, making a design for availability easier to accomplish since the VMs can share tagged firewall rules.”

To understand the above statement, the basic dependent knowledge that must already be understood includes Regions, Zones, Subnets, IP Addresses, and Firewall Rules.

These basic concepts are not taught or reviewed in this course. They are taught in the training courses in this specialization and in the corresponding learning track in instructor-led training.

Advice: Evaluate the dependent basic concepts

Assess your confidence with each touchstone concept as it is presented. Don’t expect to be taught the basic concept. If you don’t understand the touchstone at all, or if you don’t feel confident in your knowledge of it, or if you feel there are specific elements of it that you don’t understand or are not confident about — take note!

This is an area where more preparation can be of benefit for you.

Also — note where you are confident, know the material, and the dependent concepts on which the touchstone is based. These areas require less preparation for you. So noting what you know well can help make your preparation activities more efficient.

Google Cloud Architect Exam Tips #4

Problem solving is the key skill of the job.

During the exam, you will be reading a question or a case and the problem it is describing should start to inform and define a solution in your mind. The faster and more clearly you can understand the requirements and identify elements that might be part of the solution, the better the chances are that you will understand the question correctly and be able to identify the correct answer. This is what we mean by the best preparation for the exam is to be prepared for the job.

Practice problem solving

There are sample/practice exam-type questions throughout this course and a simulated exam quiz at the end. Don’t just read through these or watch these for information. It is not there to teach you the right answer to a particular question. It is there to give you the opportunity to practice using your problem-solving skills, which you will need on the job and for the exam.

Practice evaluating your own confidence about information, an answer, or a solution.

Another skill that will help you on the job and on the exam is being able to evaluate your own confidence about your knowledge. People often assume that they either know something or they don’t know it, they either recall it or they don’t. But in fact, recall is much less binary than that. What we don’t often get the chance to practice is evaluating how well we know something or how certain we are of answers or solutions.

This is really important. Because if you know that you are not certain of something, then you can use that as a guide to help you decide what to study, how to prioritize your study time, and how much effort to apply.

This means that you learn more from missing a question and answering it incorrectly in this course than from answering it correctly. When you miss a question, it is an indicator to take note that this is something you might want to study to better prepare for the exam.

How much confidence do you want? I will often dig into the documentation and not only prove to myself exactly why the correct answer is correct. But I will also continue studying until I know with absolute certainty exactly why each incorrect answer is wrong. I want to be able to state the reason it is not correct. Because that is how I know that I have studied enough.

Google Cloud Architect Exam Tips #5

This is not a technical training course

Don’t expect to be taught the touchstone concepts here. The purpose of them in this course is to help you evaluate your preparedness. Seek training in the technical training courses, documentation, labs, and so forth.

Practice the case evaluation method on cases and on sample questions
  1. Business Requirements
  2. Technical Requirements
  3. Technical Watchpoints (requirements or facts that indicate elements of a solution)
  4. Proposed Solution

This is not just a test-taking skill. This is a skill used in practice by consultants on the job. It is how they think about their customer engagements and talks about them with other professionals.

What questions would you want to ask a client?

You can make reasonable assumptions about a case. But if you seem to be missing information, especially technical information, that may be useful. It may help constrain the degree of freedom and limit the number of potentially correct answers. It might indicate that an answer is incorrect. In other words, use what you don’t know or what is missing in the case to help you evaluate the intent of the question.

Make sure you know what is being asked.

If you find yourself speculating and trying to add information to the case beyond reasonable assumptions, then you might be drifting off of the intent of the question.


It is a good idea to review and run through basic labs so that the hands-on details are fresh in mind. You might want to review steps of labs you performed before. Or you might want to do some of them again.

There are resources available on the Qwiklabs Google Cloud Catalog.

Additional Top 5 Google Cloud Architect Exam Tips

Tip no 1. Having a good understanding of GCP resources is absolutely a must to pass the GCP Cloud Architect exam. Make sure that you go through this chapter with full attention. Read it multiple times if required and play with the creation of projects and billing accounts using your free tier account.

Try exporting billing data both to files and BigQuery. You must remember individual Identify and Access Management (IAM) roles for billing. Make sure you understand the scope of the services.

Tip no 2. If the alerts and budgets are attached to a billing account and you have multiple projects attached to the alerts, this would count toward the total cost generated in all of those projects together. Remember the default thresholds for the alerts.

Tip no 3. As a cloud architect, you need to understand how most of the services work from a high level. Note that Google releases new services very often; however, there is always a delay between a new service release and the exam being updated with new content.

Tip no 4. Note that there are additional compute options that might not yet appear on the exam but have been announced in 2019. GKE On-Prem is a GKE service that can be installed on your local environment and managed from your Google Console.

Cloud Run is a FaaS offering that allows you to define containers that will listen for HTTP requests. This allows you to use languages that are not supported by Cloud Functions. To read more about these services, check the Further reading links.

Tip no 5. If you do not have an external IP, then a bastion host should be used, also referred to as terminal servers. If you need access to resources that have internal IP addresses only, then bastion hosts are configured with external IP addresses and acts as a gateway to your internal resources.

Recommended Google Cloud Architect Exam Tips

Tip no 6. If we want to specify a shutdown script, then we will browse to the metadata section and add shutdown-script as the key and add the contents of the script as the value.

Tip no 7. If you want to debug an issue in a VM instance, grant the compute instance admin role and not the compute admin role. The latter has full control of all Compute Engine resources, whereas the former has less privilege.

Tip no 8. GKE is heavily tested in the cloud architect exam. Make sure you understand the basic concepts of containers, microservices, Kubernetes, and GKE-specific topics. Pay special attention to the Kubernetes section itself. A lot of questions are related to Kubernetes rather than being GKE-specific.

Make sure you understand the Kubernetes architecture and objects, pay special attention to networking and services so that you know how the applications are accessed, understand how you can secure clusters with IAM and RBAC, and finally, understand how you can manage, scale, and upgrade GKE clusters.

Tip no 9. Kubernetes is an important exam topic. Fortunately, the exam does not require you to have in-depth knowledge of it. In this section, we will talk about both the management layer and Kubernetes objects. We want you to understand the management layer because it is necessary to understand GKE itself.

When it comes to Kubernetes objects, make sure that you understand at least the ones we mention in this book, including Pods, deployments, services, and namespaces. Kubernetes itself deserves its own book, and there are many available on the market.

If you feel like you want to learn more, refer to the Further reading section.

Tip no 10. It might be worth remembering that we can do the following: Enable Cloud TPU: We will discuss this in Chapter 12, Putting Machine Learning to Work. Enable Istio (beta): This is a service mesh product that allows us to control and observe network traffic. Enable Kubernetes Dashboard (deprecated): A dashboard that helps us view and manage Kubernetes objects.

Bonus Google Cloud Architect Exam Tips

Tip no 11. Expect to see questions on GKE and Kubernetes command-line tools. Remember that gcloud is used for managing the GKE cluster while kubectl is a Kubernetes native tool. So, as an example, if you want to scale a GKE cluster, you would use gcloud, while for scaling a deployment, you would use kubectl

Tip no 12. Make sure you know the pricing model for the exam. Remember that you only pay for nodes.

Tip no 13. App Engine Standard is often also defined as a sandbox for developers. 

Tip no 14. If the value of is Lieve is true, then this lifecycle condition will match only live objects; however, if the value is set to false, the lifecycle condition will match only archived objects. We should also note that objects in non-versioned buckets are considered live. 

Tip no 15. As you may have noticed, the App Engine Standard environment can scale down to zero, while the Flexible environment will always run at least one instance. This obviously has an impact on the cost of running your application. 

Tip no 16. Pay special attention to how you switch traffic between different versions. This can be used for both rolling out the new version as well as rolling back to the last stable version. 

Tip no 17. Remember that cron jobs are a way of triggering jobs periodically and are an alternative to using Compute Engine with native third-party tools.

Tip no 18. Make sure you understand that the standard cache is delivered at best effort and might not fit all use cases. If you want to have predictable performance, use a dedicated cache.

Tip no 19. Interestingly enough, networking is not the key topic of the exam; however, there is a GCP Certified Network Engineer exam that will test your GCP network knowledge thoroughly. It is impossible to understand other GCP services without understanding the basics of networking. Therefore, in this chapter, you will learn about Google’s global network and the GCP network services.

Tip no 20. Understanding the options is critical. You may be presented with a scenario where relational databases are needed over non-relational databases, or where you need to select an option that is suitable for structured data.

You also need to understand the limits of storage; as an example, let’s say you are told that you need to assess a service that offers a NoSQL database and can scale to terabytes of data. After reading this chapter, you should be able to map this scenario to a service.

Tip no 21. It’s also important for you to be able to identify storage services that support structured data, low latency, or horizontal scaling. Likewise, you should be able to identify storage services that offer strong consistency or support ACID properties. 

Tip no 22. Cloud Storage offers an array of features. To succeed in your exam, you must understand the versioning and lifecycle management features of Cloud Storage. Like the storage classes, you should review these and make sure you are comfortable before moving onto future sections of this chapter.

Also Read:

Jenkins X Kubernetes Tutorial | GKE Cluster with jx in GCP

20+Professional Google Cloud Architect Exam Tips in 2021

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