How do I prepared and passed the Google Cloud Professional Data Engineer Certification Exam

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As a data analyst who wants to up-skill myself and hopefully become a data engineer, I figure that getting the Google Cloud Professional Data Engineer certificate will give me a head start. With around 4–5 months preparation, I was able to pass the exam in a single sitting with no working experience as a data engineer.

My background

Apparently Google suggest you have the follow before taking the exam

3+ years of industry experience including 1+ years designing and managing solutions using Google Cloud

I doubt anyone who has that kind of experience having any need to acquire this certification (I mean if you do you probably already a data engineer!). Personally I am a data analyst with a little bit more than 1 year experience in using BigQuery at work and no previous experience in using other GCP services.

How I prepare

If you have no prior experience in Google Cloud Platform (GCP) or not quite understand what kind of services GCP offers like me, I suggest you start with the following course:

  1. Google Cloud Certified Professional Data Engineer (LA) by A Cloud Guru

Price: $35 USD monthly after 7 days trial

Readiness after this course: 25%

Complexity of the course material : 4/10

It is a phenomenal course to build your foundation on what’s GCP has to offer for data engineer in terms of services and tools. It focus on the tools that’s in scope of the exam, first teach you about the core concept of the tool then it includes lab exercise so you can try in GCP to actually use the service to perform relatively simple tasks to strengthen your understanding.

Best thing of this course is the final practice exam which you can practice again and again for revision. The format of the questions are quite similar to what’s in the actual exam so you can really use it for reference. I suggest you try to get 90% until you move on from this course.

Only thing that I don’t like about this course is the material itself is a bit shallow and it is not really on par with the difficulty of the actual exam. But I still recommend it if you aren’t familiar with the services on GCP.

2. Preparing for Google Cloud Certification: Cloud Data Engineer Professional Certificate by Coursera

Price: $49 USD monthly after 7 days trial

Readiness after this course: 70%

Complexity of the course material : 8/10

Anyone who have a foundation of what GCP offers can take this course directly. This course builds on the foundation of GCP and focus more on the conceptual ideas of what GCP can helps to solve data engineering problems. If you don’t know the basics, it will be very hard to follow as the course material really assume you already know what different services does.

The course material includes theory lessons and lab exercise. Although it takes quite some time to get through the labs, but I definitely recommend finishing those as it helps a lot to understand what different tools are designed to do.

Best thing of the course is the final part in the curriculum where it serves as a summary or a study guide to help you prepare the exam by going through the key concepts of the scope of the exam. When you go through the videos, you can identify what concepts or tools you don’t feel 100% familiar then you can focus on studying those parts.

3. practice questions

Price: Free

Readiness after this: 100%

Complexity of the course material : 10/10

After completing the previously two courses, you should be in a strong position to pass the exam. The only thing you need is to practice the format of the exam because knowing the knowledge and applying it in the exam is different.

The actual exam questions are mostly scenarios based and usually have confusing choices, where several choices are technically correct and you have to pick the best one according to the requirements stated (might it be cost / performance requirements).

Examtopics is a strong archive of questions where you can really practice the thought process when taking the actual exam. Personally I’ve did the whole set three times to make sure I understand everything. One caveat is that the answer by Examtopics is usually incorrect, you should read the explanation by other fellow learners to understand the rationale.


That’s all I did to prepare the exam. I believe for any intensive learner the preparation could be within 3 months but as I was preparing it while working full time. I guess different people have different pace in prepare the exam. When you are so comfortable with all the concepts and the tools within the exam scope then you’re truly ready to take the exam.

After you finished the exam, you’ll immediately be able to see you test result in webassessor. Shortly after Google Cloud will send you an email saying they need to verify the exam result which is completely normal. Usually in a week you will get a final email saying you’ve passed the exam!

Good luck in your preparation!

Bonus: Google will gift you a fleece jacket after you pass the exam and a sticker!

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