The challenge continues

This is part 2 of a series of posts about GCP certification challenge. You can find part 1 here.

In my previous post, I had done one quest at Qwiklabs and started on the second quest. These quests were part of the first month of the challenge. The proposed schedule looked like this:

Month 1

  • GCP Essentials Quest @ Qwiklabs (required)
  • Cloud Architecture Quest @ Qwiklabs (required)
  • Book certification exam (required)

Month 2

  • Architecting on GCP Coursera specialization (recommended)
  • Take practice exam (recommended)

Month 3

  • Take the certification exam

Current progress

Both quests from month 1 were completed. When they were completed, Google sent an email with a voucher code to get a 20% discount for the certification exam and that the certification exam has to be completed by December 24th to be eligible for the chance to with $100 to use in the Google store. The email also contained one month free on Coursera for the Architecting on GCP specialization (normally $49).

I did try to find a suitable time for the certification exam but was not able to find a suitable time that was reasonably close to where I live. This was the end of October and there were essentially 2-3 days possible to book in November and none in December. The November dates collided with other assignments, so they were out of the question. So it may not be possible to do the exam this year, unfortunately.

The Architecting on GCP specialization consists of five separate courses, one which I had already completed. The next three courses went more in-depth on various services essentially. As with the other Coursera courses they are a mix of short video presentations mixed with Qwiklabs labs.

Since these courses were going through the same services as previous courses also, there is some amount of repetition - which I think was quite good, especially for the labs. That helped to get more familiar with the GCP console (web GUI) and Cloud Shell.

The last course in the specialization has a slightly different format and it was noticeable that this was an online course adaption of an in-class type course. This course had a theme around architecting a maintainable and scalable solution, starting with something simple and refining that.

This was a quite good approach and some good content, I liked that one and a good ending for the specialization.

Overall, I think GCP has a significantly better interface than AWS with its console and Cloud Shell. I like it much better and it provides a more cohesive experience. Someone has given a fair amount of thought on the overall user experience here. This is not quite so in AWS - they have all of the building blocks, but they are more separate building blocks than a unified experience.

The courses have been pretty good, but now is the time to do more practical work to strengthen the knowledge and do some practice exams. I am not sure when I will be able to do the certification exam now, since there were not any times available this year. But should hopefully be able to find a time in January. I getting pretty fond of the GCP experience and am happy to work a bit more with it.