I passed the Google Cloud Platform Professional Cloud Architect certification without ever using Google Cloud or even logging in to the console. I have a bunch of AWS cloud experience (both in the real world and experience with AWS exams), so I’m pretty confident on general principles of cloud computing, but it still feels weird to take and pass a certification without ever using the specific subject matter in the exam.

What does this say to other AWS engineers who want GCP certification?

I guess it says that you should be okay attempting the exam without a lot (or any) GCP experience. If you’ve already taken several AWS exams and have a good feel for when a question is leading you towards using a specific service for a given scenario, you’ll be pretty comfortable with this exam.

There are a few differences between GCP and AWS, and if you don’t have GCP experience you’ll have to learn those differences somewhere. I used Coursera’s Google Cloud for AWS Professionals. This was a quick way to take my AWS knowledge and make it applicable to the GCP exam. I did about a day and a half of studying, not bad for any cloud exam.

What does this say about the exam itself?

I don’t think any less of the exam because I was able to pass it without ever using GCP. Certifications aren’t the same thing as real world experience. Certifications help get you past HR and prove that you aren’t a total n00b (and help your company obtain partner status). This exam meets those requirements as well as any AWS exam, at least.

Why even take the exam if I don’t use GCP, anyway?

For money, or at least that was the initial motivation.

The company where I work wanted to obtain Google partner status, and Google of course always wants more engineers to use their cloud, so Google offered to pay bonuses to any engineer at my company who passed the exam. And lots of us did.

Now that I’ve at least proved “I’m not a total n00b”, I do look forward to getting real world experience with GCP in the future as new projects come around. Should be fun!