On Thursday, 25th February 2021, I wrote my Google Cloud Associate Cloud Engineer (ACE) Certification Exam. One day later, I became officially Google Cloud certified.

My Google Cloud Certified ACE Certificate

The journey to becoming certified started in 2019, through the Google Africa Developer Scholarship (GADS), a program led by Andela through its Andela Learning Community, in partnership with Google and Pluralsight.

After scaling the highly competitive stages and finally reaching the certification exam phase in January 2020, COVID-19 hit the world, and I, along with everyone else who qualified had to wait one full year before we could write our exam. The long wait was full of a lot of apprehensions, but it has been worth it, and today, I am proud to say I’m Google Cloud Certified.

I started my professional career in I.T. Support, a role that revolved around helping to solve any challenge my colleagues faced with technology, supporting them in better utilising technology for their day-to-day work, and ensuring that all I.T. systems within the office stayed optimal.

Today, even though I don’t work directly in a technology role, most of the skills and experience I gained during that period set me aside in everything I do, and these skills gained are relevant and transferrable to any other role I find myself taking up in the future.

If you're asking, So, what exactly does a Cloud Engineer do? I will attempt to break down what the Cloud stands for and what Cloud Administrators, Engineers or Architects do for their day-to-day job.

I have a question.

A few decades ago, most businesses needed to buy physical infrastructure (computers, servers, networking devices, racks, etc) to host websites and applications they own or use for their day-to-day business processes. Apart from the initial heavy investments required to buy equipment (which had to be replaced every few years), there had to be support staff on the ground to monitor them round the clock.

Sometime in the late 2000s to early 2010s, rapid advances in technology and greater network capacity made cloud computing a mainstream concept, even though it had always existed in one form or the other since as far back as the 1950s.

So, what is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing can be a vague term meaning several things. In the simplest term, it means “online access to and storage of files and media traditionally stored on a user’s physical device”.

A more robust definition would be “interconnected but independent services accessed in a strictly online sense with little or no dependence on a local computer or storage device”.

In other words, all the storage and processing power or “thinking” that otherwise would be carried out by a physical device you own is transferred to an online server or group of servers owned by your cloud service provider. All that you need is a connection. Easy-Peasy!

Cloud computing is typically characterized by five features, shown in the image below.

Cloud Computing is characterized by these five features

Enter, Cloud Engineer!

Source: Bing

According to Wikipedia, Cloud engineering is the application of engineering disciplines to cloud computing. It brings a systematic approach to concerns of commercialization, standardization, and governance of cloud computing applications.

In practice, it leverages the methods and tools of engineering in conceiving, developing, operating, and maintaining cloud computing systems and solutions. It is about the process of designing the systems necessary to leverage the power and economics of cloud resources to solve business problems.

In other words, a cloud engineer is someone who can use their knowledge and skills of a particular cloud platform to design systems that solve business problems. Apart from being tech-savvy, a cloud engineer must also be knowledgeable about the business and have domain knowledge that will enable them to develop systems or applications for flexible deployment, provisioning, and management.

Google Associate Cloud Engineer

A Google Associate Cloud Engineer deploys applications, monitors operations, and manages enterprise solutions on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). They can use Google Cloud Console and the command-line interface to perform common platform-based tasks to maintain one or more deployed solutions that leverage Google-managed or self-managed services on Google Cloud.

Google ACE Badge

In summary, as a Google Certified Associate Cloud Engineer, you can, using the Google Cloud Platform (GCP):

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

So, how do I become a Cloudian?

There are different cloud service providers, the most popular being Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Azure, and Google’s (GCP). To get started, all you need to do is sign up on whichever platform appeals to you the most, or better still, try your hands on as many as you can and then decide which one you are most comfortable with. Most of them offer free credits for starters.

After deciding on which cloud service provider you find most appealing, getting certified boils down to experience, which comes with a lot of practice. Google recommends at least 6 months of experience for their Associate Cloud Engineer certification.

I will recommend the same timeline for whichever platform you choose to become certified in. Of course, if you are ready to give it what it takes, you can be ready in half the time — read the official documentation, buy books and courses from established authorities in the field, and then practice using a lot of sample questions provided for you.

In conclusion, my journey in technology has proven one thing — you cannot afford to rest on your oars. Every day is a challenge to keep learning and get better at whatever it is that you do. Seeing today’s world is driven by technology, every person must imbibe the growth mindset, if they must remain relevant. One promise — every investment you make in learning is worth it. The reward may not be immediate, but it surely will come.

Educator || Youth Development Advocate || Technology Solutions Provider. I train, teach, mentor, and consult on making the best of technology.