How I passed the Google Professional Data Engineer Exam in 2020

How I passed the Google Professional Data Engineer Exam in 2020

In 8 days. Quick learner’s guide for those who don’t have time to read the manuals. August 2020. This article is for those who don’t have time to read all the manuals

Want to get this certification? Well it is not an easy one. You’ll need to do the homework. From what I read online people usually spend 2–3 month on preparation.

It’s not a secret that many of us won’t be using each of the Google products every day but we need to know them, right? This article is for those who don’t have time to read all the manuals. I will describe what I did to get ready for this exam in 8 days.

First of all I need to say that I didn’t have a clue how serious that exam really is. Exam questions were way more complex and different from any online course questions I know. So if you don’t have any developer background please take your time, read the books and do the tutorials.

It took 1 hour and 35 minutes to pass the test. Every exam question was exactly the same though.

“Why did I choose to do that to myself?”

After the 3rd question I had a strong feeling that I know nothing. I was really scared as I told everyone that I was going to take this exam. A bit of advice — don’t put yourself under that pressure. Don’t tell your boss or your girlfriend. If you fail you will be able to take this exam again in two weeks. I think I passed only because I am a lucky guy and was wearing my lucky T-shirt that day. After I submit my final answers I saw exam result straight away. It was a ‘Pass’. My certificate came next week as well as a promo code for a hoodie.

There is a May 2020 book, an Official Google Cloud Certified Professional Data Engineer Study Guide by Willey. It’s $40 and it has a table of contents which gives a basic understanding of types of questions on the exam. To buy it or not it’s up to you. You might want to just familiarise yourself with the contents and probably that will be enough.


Day 1

I started with practice tests. There is a plenty of online courses for this task. I gave an overview below on some of them that helped me to get ready. Long story short, if you don’t want to waste your time start with the tests.

There is a practice exam from Google which I did and failed but then I knew how questions looked exactly. It gives you the format, level, and scope of questions you may encounter on the certification exam.

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Practice exam — Google Professional Data Engineer

Then there is a Linux Academy practice exam.

Recently they did have a migration of some courses from A Cloud Guru, which would include the Google Professional Data Engineer course! This course itself would be newer than the course that they had within their platform, but you are still able to view their Data Engineer course here Google Cloud Certified Professional Data Engineer (LA). Which was updated to the latest July 2019 exam objectives.

The first one is free! So go unlock the challenge. For the second one you will have two free attempts to practice after the registration.

And they have a handy course book (free): Google Cloud Professional Data Engineer Exam Handbook by Linux Academy: summary of the main concepts in scope.

Day 2

On day 2 I started to shape an idea of how to deal with case studies, what exam structure and questions are. I started to pay attention to words like economically, cost-effective, as soon as possible, etc. These types of keywords very often define the right answer because on exam you can find multiple answers that technically satisfy the requirments.

Day 3–5

I did 2 practice exams a day occasionally reading google docs related to topics I didn’t know. I did that during my morning cardio in the gym while I was cycling. 30–40 minutes is more than enough to do the practice exam. Also there is a research suggesting that moderate aerobic activity improves cognitive function. I found it very useful and cardio didn’t sound painful anymore. I was learning.

Day 6–8

I did two practice exams a day but now I had two browser tabs opened with previously passed practice exams. Every question I was uncertain about I checked straight away and read the docs. I think this tactics helped to polish my knowledge. Also I started to take some product specific notes and tie them to those keywords I was talking about earlier.

By day 7 I was getting at least 90% pass on practice.

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Prcatice Google Certified Data Engineer exam

How to pass the exam?

There is no generic answer to that question. During the real exam I felt that I know nothing and questions seemed very difficult. However, the following strategy worked for me:

  1. Do the practice tests to understand the type of questions and structure.
  2. Learn product features
  3. Pay attention to question keywords as very often they define the correct answer.

Put on your lucky T-Shirt or whatever lucky thing you have. You’ll need this.

4. Read the manual. It’s optional but very useful.

Read official Google docs. At least an overview and case studies. These guides are great and have all the information you need to pass the exam. I was checking a topic from a Professional Data Engineer Study Guide by Willey and then searched for that topic in Google docs.

Most of the exam questions were case studies, how to fix something, design a process, best practice or about machine learning.

Real exam is very machine learning heavy.

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