GCP Associate Cloud Engineer Exam Study Guide

Google offers the Associate Cloud Engineer (ACE) as an Associate level certification for individuals who already have IT experience but are relatively new to the Google Cloud Platform. For individuals with zero IT experience or for non-IT people who want to learn Google Cloud, you might want to check Google’s Cloud Digital Leader Certification. To be ACE-Certified, you need to pass the Associate Cloud Engineer exam. This exam will verify your knowledge in deploying, monitoring, and maintaining projects on Google Cloud.

The ACE exam can be broken down into five domains:

  • Setting Up a Cloud Solution Environment

  • Planning and Configuring a Cloud Solution

  • Deploying and Implementing a Cloud Solution

  • Ensuring Successful Operation of a Cloud Solution

  • Configuring Access and Security

You can view the detailed exam outline here.

Google recommends an individual to have a minimum of 6 months of experience building in Google Cloud before taking the exam. Worry not, if you haven’t got the experience, this guide will provide you the necessary materials to help you pass the exam.

Study Materials

The following resources will help you prepare for the Associate Cloud Engineer Certification exam.

  1. Official Google Cloud Documentation – Google provides comprehensive guides in building solutions on the Google Cloud Platform. This documentation includes guides for GCP Services and includes helpful content like popular solutions, tutorials, and best practices that are often seen on the actual exam.

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We suggest going through the following documentation:

2. Google Cloud Blog – This includes the latest news, features, and announcement on Google Cloud.

3. GCP Services FAQ – Google Cloud provides an FAQ section on each of their services. We suggest you go through the FAQ of the primary services like Compute, Storage, and IAM. We will further discuss the services to prioritize in the latter section.

4. Google Cloud’s Platform Comparison – If you have a background in other Cloud Providers like AWS and Microsoft, Google provides a side-to-side services comparison. This comparison will help you picture out and familiarize yourself with the GCP Services as most of the services work in the same manner.

5. Google Cloud Free Program – Google Cloud offers a 90-day trial period that includes $300 in free Cloud Billing credits for new accounts. Google also provides free usage for services like Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, and BigQuery as long as you don’t exceed the monthly usage limit. Take advantage of this program to practice building solutions and interacting on different GCP services. Make yourself comfortable navigating through the Google Cloud Console. To know more about Google Cloud Free Program, visit this page.

6. Google Cloud Tech – Youtube Channel – You can find helpful videos on Google Cloud’s official Youtube channel – from service introduction, tutorials, and labs. We suggest going through the Getting Started with Cloud playlist and videos about the services listed on the GCP Services to Focus on.

7. Official Associate Cloud Engineer Sample Questions – This is a 20 item question from Google. The sample questions may be short, but they familiarize you with the actual exam format and exam content. There is no limit on taking these sample questions.

8. Tutorials Dojo’s Google Cloud Platform Cheat Sheets – Think of these as a summary of all the essential information from the Google Cloud documentation. These cheat sheets also include different GCP service comparisons.

9. Tutorials Dojo’s Google Certified Associate Cloud Engineer Practice Exams (coming soon!) – This is not your typical practice exam. Our practice tests not only give you actual exam-like questions but also include thorough explanations that will surely give you aha moments. We also have a FREE Google Certified Associate Cloud Engineer Practice Exams-Sampler to help give you an idea of what the actual exam feels like.

GCP Services to Focus on

We list all the GCP services that are often included in the exam scenarios. Having a high-level knowledge of these services will almost guarantee you to pass the exam.

  1. Google Compute Engine – You should be able to launch a VM instance, create backups, configure autoscaling, and manage instance groups.

  2. Google Cloud Storage – Know the different Cloud Storage Classes and their use cases.

  3. Google App Engine – Learn how to applications are deployed and how scaling works in App Engine. Know the difference between Standard and Flexible Environment.

  4. Google Kubernetes Engine – Learn how applications are deployed in Google Kubernetes Engine. Learn how autoscaling works in Kubernetes. Know the common terms in Kubernetes like Pods, Deployment, Daemons.

  5. Google VPC – You should be able to create VPCs and subnets from scratch. Know how to configure firewall rules and routes. Learn how to connect VPCs to other VPCs and on-premises networks.

  6. Google BigQuery – You should learn how to import and export data to and from BigQuery. Know how to grant access to BigQuery Datasets.

  7. Google Cloud Logging – You should be familiar with the different types of Audit logs. Learn how to export audit logs.

  8. Google Cloud Monitoring – Learn how Cloud Monitoring works. Know what are Workspaces and Monitoring Agent.

  9. Google IAM – Learn how to manage IAM users and groups. Learn how to grant access to different GCP services. Understand the roles, policies, and service accounts. Know the best practices on IAM.

  10. Google Cloud Billing – Know the basic cloud billing principles. Know what are Cloud Billing accounts, how to create budgets and alerts. Be familiar with the common IAM roles in Cloud Billing.

  11. Google Cloud Shell – Know what cloud shell is. Be familiar with the common gcloud commands for the most common GCP services like Compute, IAM and, VPC. Be familiar as well with bq and gsutil.

Validate Your Knowledge

If you think you have enough theoretical and hands-on knowledge, we highly suggest taking our Google Certified Associate Cloud Engineer Practice Exams. Each question in our practice exam falls into the different exam domains that Google provided. After taking the practice exam, you can quickly identify your strengths and the exam domains that you should continually work on. You should be able to identify the what and hows through the explanation provided on every question. Each answer is backed up with references, which we recommend that you thoroughly read if you want to understand the topic further. With our Associate Cloud Engineer Practice Exams and GCP Cheat Sheets, we guarantee that you will be able to pass the exam on the first try.

Google Certified Associate Cloud Engineer Practice Exams

Sample Practice Test Questions:

Question 1

You have a Google Cloud Platform (GCP) project in your organization that is used for managing confidential files and documents. There is a need to delegate the management of buckets and files in Cloud Storage to your co-workers. You want to follow Google-recommended practices.

Which of the following IAM roles should you grant to your co-workers?

  1. Project Editor
  2. Storage Admin
  3. Storage Object Creator
  4. Storage Object Admin

Correct Answer: 2

A role contains a set of permissions that allows you to perform specific actions on Google Cloud resources. To make permissions available to members, including users, groups, and service accounts, you grant roles to the members.

The following describes the various Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles that are associated with Cloud Storage:

  • Storage Object Creator – Allows users to create objects. Does not give permission to view, delete, or replace objects.
  • Storage Object Viewer – Grants access to view objects and their metadata, excluding ACLs. Can also list the objects in a bucket.
  • Storage Object Admin – Grants full control over objects, including listing, creating, viewing, and deleting objects.
  • Storage HMAC Key Admin – Full control over HMAC keys in a project. This role can only be applied to a project.
  • Storage Admin – Grants full control of buckets and objects. When applied to an individual bucket, control applies only to the specified bucket and objects within the bucket.

Hence, the correct answer is: Storage Admin.

The option that says: Project Editor is incorrect because this is a primitive role that grants more access than what you actually need for the scenario. Google does not recommend using primitive roles.

The option that says: Storage Object Creator is incorrect because this role only grants access to create objects when using Cloud Storage. This will not help you manage buckets.

The option that says: Storage Object Admin is incorrect because this just grants full control access to objects when utilizing Cloud Storage. This does not grant access to manage buckets.


Check out this Google Cloud Storage Cheat Sheet:

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Question 2

Your company regularly executes a batch job process hosted in an on-premises server which takes around 33 hours in total to complete. The batch job consists of smaller tasks that can be performed offline and can be restarted in case of process interruption. You are assigned to migrate this workload to the Google Cloud Platform and implement a cost-effective solution.

What should you do?

  1. Use Compute Engine Preemptible VMs for your workload.
  2. Use Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) to build Preemptible nodes.
  3. Move your workload to a Compute Engine instance. Start and stop the instance in the event of failure.
  4. Build an instance template configured to launch a Preemptible VM. Provision a managed instance group (MIG) from the template you just created. Adjust the Target CPU Utilization setting.

Correct Answer: 4

Managed instance groups (MIGs) let you operate apps on multiple identical VMs. You can make your workloads scalable and highly available by taking advantage of automated MIG services, including: autoscaling, autohealing, regional (multiple zone) deployment, and automatic updating.

Use a managed instance group (MIG) for scenarios like these:

– Stateless serving workloads, such as a website frontend

– Stateless batch, high-performance, or high-throughput compute workloads, such as image processing from a queue

– Stateful applications, such as databases, legacy applications, and long-running batch computations with checkpointing

Preemptible VMs are Compute Engine VM instances that last a maximum of 24 hours in general, and provide no availability guarantees. Preemptible VMs are priced lower than standard Compute Engine VMs and offer the same machine types and options.

A preemptible VM is an instance that you can create and run at a much lower price than normal instances. However, Compute Engine might stop (preempt) these instances if it requires access to those resources for other tasks. Preemptible instances are excess Compute Engine capacity, so their availability varies with usage.

If your apps are fault-tolerant and can withstand possible instance preemptions then preemptible instances can reduce your Compute Engine costs significantly. For example, batch processing jobs can run on preemptible instances. If some of those instances stop during processing, the job slows but does not completely stop. Preemptible instances complete your batch processing tasks without placing additional workload on your existing instances and without requiring you to pay full price for additional normal instances.

Hence, the correct answer is: Build an instance template configured to launch a Preemptible VM. Provision a managed instance group (MIG) from the template you just created. Adjust the Target CPU Utilization setting.

The option that says: Use Compute Engine Preemptible VMs for your workload is incorrect because using preemptible VMs will not resume the batch job once the instance fails. A standalone preemptible VM that does not automatically scale is not suitable for this scenario.

The option that says: Use Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) to build Preemptible nodes is incorrect because GKE preemptible nodes can only last up to 24 hours. It means that this approach won’t be able to handle the 33-hour batch job requirement.

The option that says: Move your workload to a Compute Engine instance. Start and stop the instance in the event of failure is incorrect because it is stated in the scenario that the instances should be restarted in case of interruptions so this option does not satisfy the requirement.


Check out our Google Cloud Compute Engine Cheat Sheet:

Final Remarks

The amount of preparation for the ACE exam depends on the individual’s background. Google provided enough resources for you to prepare for the exam. The 90-day trial period that Google offers should be enough to familiarize yourself with the GCP Console and Cloud shell. Our high-quality practice exam and cheat sheets will solidify your knowledge and fill in all the missing pieces you need to pass the exam. Indeed, we hope that you will ace your ACE exam.

You can book your certification exam here. If you aren’t confident, don’t book yet or reschedule your exam. You have an option to take the exam on-site or remotely; either way, both are proctored. Don’t forget to take a good rest before the exam. If you will be taking an on-site exam, it is good to come early to the testing center for you to have time to relax and be comfortable in the exam environment or do a quick review. Best of luck in your exam and bring home that sought-after certification!

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Written by: Lervin John Obando

Lervin is a Cloud Technology enthusiast and an AWS Community Builder whose expertise expands from Systems Administration, Database to Cloud Infrastructure. He is a Multi-Cloud Certified professional holding multiple certifications from AWS, Google, and Oracle. When he is not in front of his computer, you can find him spending time with his wife and dog.

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