Becoming a Certified Cloud Digital Leader with Google

Overview

Rebecca Nevard, Senior Delivery Manager at CTS shares her experience taking the Google Cloud Digital Leader exam, tips for success and lessons learnt by achieving the certification. 

The Google Cloud Digital Leader certification is considered the first step into the Google Cloud Platform for anyone working in a commercial or technical role. It covers the fundamentals of their key products as well as how/when to apply them, without going too far down the rabbit hole.

As a Senior Delivery Manager at CTS, my day is spent bridging the gap between technical, finance and commercial teams - both on the customer side and internally. My background has been largely dealing with projects in what the tech community lovingly refers to as ‘On-Prem’ (formally known as ‘On-Premises’ - think massive warehouses with thousands of computers that host a companies online infrastructure and data) so when I was hired to manage Cloud migrations and transformations, I knew there would be a slight learning curve.

One of the ways I saw to build myself a great foundation was to do the learning path and exam provided by Google to get my Digital Cloud Leader certificate. I knew this would help me to excel in my role and add a tonne of value to my customers, colleagues and CTS as a whole.

My approach to preparing for the Cloud Digital Leader exam

I think it’s natural for anyone to get intimidated at the thought of an exam - especially when it’s been a while since your last. I know this about myself so I wanted to make sure that I was prepared in the best way I knew how;

  • Set the goal of taking the exam in three months. 
  • Set aside time during my weekends to study (that’s just what works best for me!) 
  • I connected with other people at CTS about their experience taking the exam to see what they recommended.
  • I found the learning path provided by Google to be the most helpful (outlined below) 
    • I took notes where necessary - mostly on topics I knew less about or that had a lot of detail.
    • I completed the quizzes at the end of each module, and I went back to these regularly to keep it fresh in my mind as I progressed through the material.

Google Cloud Digital Leader Learning Path

The courses in the learning path are free and were my main focus in preparation for the exam. What I liked best about it is that I could commit to doing a module at a time - the 2-5 minute videos were bite-size and very easy to follow.

  • Digital transformation with Google Cloud (~10% of the exam)
  • Innovating with data and Google Cloud (~30% of the exam)
  • Infrastructure and application modernization (~30% of the exam)
  • Google Cloud security and operations (~30% of the exam)

My experience taking the Cloud Digital Leader exam

You can register for the exam here. You’ll have the choice between doing an online proctored exam or you can visit a test centre. I chose to do this exam online but I will definitely be taking future exams in person - just a preference but I’ll get into why below.

Google Cloud uses Krypterion to book their certifications and proctor the online and virtual exams. I found this to be a bit stressful to set up on the day because if I’m honest - I skimmed over the instructions provided and did not remove my firewall prior to my exam time. I also had to dedicate some time to clearing up my office space as I have posters on my walls.

Other than that the process is fairly simple, the proctor is not visible but will message you through the chat to check your surroundings to make sure you don’t have any cheat sheets (Hence why I had to sort my posters out!). 

You’re allocated 90 minutes, but I found 30-40 minutes was more than enough. Some of the questions can be a bit tricky, so I made sure to reread each carefully. In the end I go by the belief that my gut feeling is usually right. I find second guessing myself can lead to choosing the wrong answer because I’m overthinking it and the wording on an answer that looks ‘semi right’ can be ever so slightly off the mark.

You do get a provisional pass/fail message almost instantly afterwards as it is multiple choice, but you’ll receive your official approval from Google within a week along with your certificate.

To conclude!

I’m happy to have this certificate under my belt, as the process has helped me to better understand the best practices when building Cloud solutions and to more easily be able to communicate why we would suggest a certain approach over another.

I also now have a great overview of Google Cloud services as a resource, which allows me to bring more value in discussions about what solution may work best based on what my customers goals are.

I hope this has been helpful, the last bit of wisdom I would pass on is that you’re smarter than you think you are and if you put in the work, you’ll definitely pass this exam! Don’t shortchange your knowledge and capability and try not to stress too much. 

Other helpful resources

Google Cloud Digital Leader Exam Guide

Cloud Digital Leader Sample Questions

The Cloud Girl Youtube Channel and website

The Google Cloud Tech Youtube Channel

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