I recently got a notice in my inbox from Google to recertify my Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Architect certification. Has it really been two years already? This notification marks the beginning of a new journey: My Journey to Recertify as a Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Architect. In this post, I’ll explore why I’m recertifying, its value to ITQ (the company I work for), and how I plan to prepare for the exam, given my busy schedule.
In the ever-evolving field of IT and technology, ongoing learning is vital to stay relevant in a highly competitive market. With so many updates in services, features, and best practices, the recertification journey is not just a necessity but a growth opportunity.
The Starting Point: A Notice to Recertify
My journey kicked off with an email from Google Cloud. It stated that my Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Architect certification would expire on November 16, 2023.
At first, it felt like a chore, diverting me from my daily job and responsibilities. Yet, after considering its value to ITQ and me, my view changed, and I grew more eager about the recertification process. In my daily job, I often find myself in the middle of managerial tasks, strategy, meetings, and so on. The recertification notice was a nice reminder to also focus on the ‘T’ in Chief Technology Officer every now and then. It’s a chance to dive into the tech side of things! And what better way to reacquaint myself with Google Cloud Platform after getting my certification two years ago? Because I am in a leadership role, I don’t spend that much time at the cloud console. This also helps fuel my ambition to publish more blogposts here. So that is a win-win scenario!
Why Go for Recertification?
Recertifying aligns with ITQ’s strategic emphasis on cloud technology. It will not only contribute to our partner status with Google Cloud, but hopefully also inspire some of my ITQ colleagues to consider Google Cloud certifications. It’s also about setting an example and staying ahead in the latest cloud technology.
The Big Hurdle: Time Management
Balancing a demanding job, freelance teaching at NOVI University, and family commitments is already quite challenging. Effective planning is obviously the key to overcoming this hurdle in my recertification journey. Ironically, planning isn’t my strong suit. Tests like “RealDrives” always rate me low on planning. so this adds an extra layer to my challenge. It’s not just about carving out the time I need but optimizing it through detailed planning. I recognize this shortcoming and I am committed to improve. I’ll set reminders, draft to-do lists, and allocate study time in my calendar. I’ll also use techniques like the Pomodoro Technique for focused study and Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle to prioritize tasks.
The Pomodoro Technique: A Focus-Driven Approach
I get distracted easily. One of the techniques I swear by for maintaining focus during study sessions is the Pomodoro Technique. This time-management method is simple but incredibly effective. The core idea is to break your work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are termed “pomodoros”.
You set a timer for 25 minutes and dedicate that time to a single task, free from all distractions (no phone, social media, TV, and so on). Once the timer rings, you take a short break of about 5 minutes. After completing four pomodoros, you take a longer break, say 15-30 minutes, to recharge. The Pomodoro Technique keeps your mind fresh and focused, making the most out of the limited time you have.
Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle: Prioritizing Like a President
Another tool in my time-management arsenal is the Eisenhower Matrix, also known as the Urgent/Important Principle. This method was popularized by President Eisenhower of the United States. The matrix helps you decide on and prioritize tasks by dividing them into four categories based on their urgency and importance.
- Urgent and Important (Do) – These are tasks that require immediate attention. They are both urgent and important and are typically aligned with your long-term goals.
- Not Urgent but Important (Decide / Plan) – These tasks are important but not urgent. They are often the tasks that will contribute to long-term goals and success but are easy to put off in favor of more urgent tasks.
- Urgent but Not Important (Delegate) – These tasks demand immediate attention but are not necessarily important in the long run. They often involve other people’s priorities rather than your own.
- Neither Urgent nor Important (Delete) – These are tasks that don’t contribute to your long-term goals or immediate needs. They are essentially distractions.
The key to effectively using the Eisenhower Matrix is to prioritize tasks in DECIDE, ensuring that you’re spending time on activities that align with your long-term goals and values, while also taking care of the urgent tasks that can’t be ignored.
By employing the Pomodoro Technique for focused study sessions and Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle to prioritize tasks, I aim to navigate the complexities of time management in my journey to recertification. These strategies will help me make the most of the limited time I have, ensuring that each moment spent is a step closer to my goal.
The first step is to reverse-engineer my study plan from the exam deadline. I’ve broken down the topics based on the official exam guide and allocated time for each.
|Week||Hours||Section||Topics and Considerations||Time Spent|
|1||6|| Designing and planning a cloud solution architecture||1.1 – 1.3||6 hrs|
|2||6|| Designing and planning a cloud solution architecture||1.4 – 1.5||3 hrs|
| Managing and provisioning a solution infrastructure||2.1 – 2.2||3 hrs|
|3||6|| Managing and provisioning a solution infrastructure||2.3||3 hrs|
| Designing for security and compliance||3.1 – 3.2||3 hrs|
|4||6|| Analyzing and optimizing technical and business processes||4.1 – 4.3||3 hrs|
| Managing implementation||5.1 – 5.2||3 hrs|
|5||6|| Ensuring solution and operations reliability||6.1 – 6.4||3 hrs|
|Case Studies||EHR Healthcare & Helicopter Racing League||3 hrs|
|6||6||Case Studies||Mountkirk Games & TerramEarth||3 hrs|
|Review All Case Studies & Mock Exams||3 hrs|
I’ll use platforms like Pluralsight / A Cloud Guru for a layered understanding of the topics. These platforms offer a great way to absorb information at a high level. I will then obtain more detailed insights through studying GCP documentation, whitepapers, official study guides, and so on. And I will be putting in some hands on time as well.
I’ll reach out to my Google contacts as well and read about others’ exam experiences. Their insights can offer invaluable tips not found in any official guide.
In the weeks to come, I’ll share updates on my study plan, useful resources, and challenges. I invite you to join me on this journey and share your tips for Google Cloud certification. Reach out to me on Twitter … uhm X on x.com/jeffreykusters