The Certified Q&A — A Video Series to Learn GCP

tldr;

The Certified Q&A is video series that will takes a ‘solutioning’ approach to help you learn Google Cloud. Do subscribe to the AwesomeGCP YouTube channel for great content that will help you understand Google Cloud to create good solutions and also help you get certified! Channel link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIGDDqu5DzlaaC4XzXj_4-A

A 3 minute intro to The Certified Q&A.

Prologue

After writing each of my certification exams, I wrote a bunch of notes to help others get an overview of the exam. (On Passing All* Google Cloud Certifications.) I can see that it is getting a lot of traffic daily. Probably as a result of that, I get a bunch of questions on my LinkedIn regularly, most often requesting guidance on something. Often people ask for the format of the questions, material to study with, assistance on planning study time, how to recover from failed attempts, and indirectly, just encouragement and support. They want to know how others made it and whether they can too. To answer and respond to these questions, I maintain this git repo: https://github.com/sathishvj/awesome-gcp-certifications.

Why isn’t existing material giving confidence?

Many people have posted online and messaged me privately that they resonated with something I said about the exam experience: confident before, doubtful during, relieved after. Not everybody has been lucky with the last part though. I’ve wondered for long why that experience is so common. My conclusion is that the way current courses and material is constructed gives some new knowledge but also a sense of false confidence. We feel we’ve done the course, which seemed fairly easy, and we expect that has served our learning comprehensively. Unfortunately, not.

What is not is as important as what is.

One other downside to course like content is that we nod and agree through each of the sections. Everything that is said seems reasonable. There seems no reason to contest it. However, in the real world we have to also deal with what is not reasonable. We have to identify why a proposed solution will not be appropriate and why an alternative would be better. We have to know enough to reject a solution without even having a working alternative yet.

Are courses not useful?

In my opinion, they are useful. When we start off, we need a wide view of what all technologies and solutions are available. The documentation could do it, but that’s a rabbit hole that could consume all your time — both breadth-wise and depth-wise. The courses set some reasonable boundaries. It limits the content which will help you get started, but it is also what makes it limiting. A thorough, comprehensive course would almost be a copy of the documentation and doing that wouldn’t be worth it or maintainable.

Is there an alternative that could fill this gap?

I believe there is. And that’s what I am working on. We need an approach that builds on the courses and labs, and takes people closer to their work and to the certification. My answer to this is what I call ‘scenario based solutioning’. Pick up a real-world scenario and come up with relevant, recommended solutions for it.

And, this also works to build Google Cloud skills?

I have personal evidence that it does. Sometime last week, a company that I’ve been giving some guidance on Google Cloud and GoLang reached out to me about a requirement — given their growing scaling requirements, would BigTable be a good alternative to MySQL on Cloud SQL, which they were using now. The discussion we had was essentially the process I followed in answering the certification exams. First, understand the requirements. What did the company want to achieve as a business objective? What were the current technology limitations and what were they trying to achieve? What were the typical use cases for these technologies — scaling factors on both storage size and computation? Was their workload more ready-heavy or write-heavy? What were the lock-in considerations? Were they serving a global audience or regional audience?

How do we come up with these scenarios?

There is an easy option that I can get started with — the official practice exams. We’re going to start with solutioning the questions on the official practice exams. Later, I intend to create my own new questions/scenarios too. We will cover all the certification exams and also learn to apply Google Cloud solutions in real world use cases.

Are these free?

Yes, they will be on YouTube for free.

What does it cost to create these videos?

Quite a bit. Mostly time. And of course, time is money for an independent trainer/consultant like me. A quick break down would be:

  • The research and creating the slides on each question takes me about 4–8 hours. Some are straightforward, but some require way more time. Most are midway on that time spectrum.
  • Recording and the re-recording (because I don’t get it right the first time) takes about half an hour to 45 minutes.
  • Editing, rendering, uploading, editing, subtitling, etc. add another hour or two.

Why do it then?

I think there is an overall benefit for the community. So I’m excited to do it.

How about income? Do you take sponsors/advertisers?

It is definitely a consideration. This will take me many months of effort and I can’t afford to not have a reasonable income. I have to make it sustainable or else it will die out. Here is what I hope will happen. The free YouTube version could eventually bring in some ad revenue, but given this is niche content, I can’t expect it to be much. You can help out by subscribing though! The other options are some sort of freemium version on some course sites where there will be additional content that the YouTube format does not support.

What is AwesomeGCP?

The Certified Q&A is a series based around the certification exams. But I think that is only a small part of what I feel would be useful for this community. I’ve a few more ideas based I want to implement based on what I am seeing. I plan to bring them together under this name.

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sathish vj

sathish vj

2.4K Followers

tech architect, tutor, investor | GCP 12x certified | youtube/AwesomeGCP | Google Developer Expert | Go