Guide to Preparing for the Professional Cloud Architect Certification

As cloud adoption continues to grow, so does the need for skilled professionals who can help organizations take advantage of what the cloud has to offer. One way to demonstrate your skills and distinguish yourself in this field is by earning the Professional Cloud Architect certification. This certification is a testament to your ability to design, develop, and manage robust, secure, scalable, highly available, and dynamic cloud solutions that drive business objectives.

To help you prepare for the Professional Cloud Architect Certification exam, Google Cloud recently held a live session covering various topics, including the reasons to become a certified Professional Cloud Architect, resources and recommendations to support your exam readiness, tips from a certified Professional Cloud Architect, and a live Q&A session.

In this article, we will provide you with an overview of the session, including key takeaways, links to supporting resources, and written answers to the most frequently asked questions. By the end of this article, you will feel better prepared and ready to pass the Professional Cloud Architect Certification exam!

Why become a certified Professional Cloud Architect?

For the fourth consecutive year, Google Cloud certifications rank among the highest paid IT certifications in the industry. In 2022, the Professional Cloud Architect Certification was among the top three. So, if you need one reason to pursue this certification, it’s the potential for higher pay.

But it’s not just about the money. Certifications also have other advantages, such as enhancing your chances of promotion, securing raises, facilitating career changes, and boosting your confidence in your cloud skills and professional future. According to the Google Cloud Certification impact report, 85% of certified individuals reported feeling more confident in their cloud skills, while 78% felt more confident in their professional future.

Furthermore, earning a certification can open doors to new opportunities. More than one in four Google Cloud certified individuals took on additional responsibilities or leadership roles, and almost one in five received a raise.

Additional benefits of becoming a certified Professional Cloud Architect include exclusive Google Cloud Certified merchandise and a digital toolkit, the opportunity to network and exchange ideas in the Google Cloud Certified Community, special recognition at select events, and the chance to join the Google Cloud Certified Directory.

Who should take the Professional Cloud Architect Certification exam?

Google Cloud offers a range of certifications for different job functions, roles, and requirements. The Professional Cloud Architect certification is ideal for experienced technical professionals who design, plan, optimize, and ensure the reliability of cloud solutions. These individuals have hands-on experience with deploying and configuring solutions.

It is recommended that candidates have at least three years of industry experience, including a minimum of one year designing and managing solutions using Google Cloud. To get a better understanding of the roles held by Professional Cloud Architect certification holders, you can explore the Google Cloud Credential Holder Directory.

Information about the exam

To help you better understand the Professional Cloud Architect Certification exam, here are some key details:

  • Length: The exam lasts for two hours.
  • Registration fee: The registration fee is $200 (plus applicable taxes).
  • Languages: The exam is available in English and Japanese.
  • Format: The exam consists of 50-60 multiple-choice and multiple-select questions.
  • Exam delivery methods: You can choose to take the exam online from a remote location or at an onsite testing center.
  • Case studies: The exam includes two case studies that describe fictitious business and solution concepts. Case study questions make up 20-30% of the exam and assess your ability to apply your knowledge to realistic business situations. During the exam, you can view the case studies on a split screen. The Exam Guide provides access to the four available case studies.
  • Certification renewal/recertification: To maintain your certification status, you must recertify. All Google Cloud certifications are valid for two years from the date of certification. Recertification involves retaking the exam and achieving a passing score. You can attempt recertification starting 60 days prior to your certification expiration date.

Recommended steps and resources to prepare for the Professional Cloud Architect Certification exam

To ensure you are well-prepared for the Professional Cloud Architect Certification exam, follow these steps:

  1. Set your exam date: Plan ahead and schedule your exam date in advance. Then, reverse-plan your study and preparation time leading up to the date. Typically, people study incrementally over a few months, but the duration may vary depending on your experience level with Google Cloud.
  2. Register for the exam: Choose whether you want to take the exam remotely or at a nearby testing center. Review the testing requirements and FAQs to ensure you have everything you need.
  3. Complete the Professional Cloud Architect Learning Path: This comprehensive learning path is available at no cost for 30 days for new users. It includes hands-on labs, quests, and courses. While it’s not mandatory to go through each step before taking the exam, the more you learn, the better prepared you’ll be. The learning path covers all the necessary topics for the Professional Cloud Architect Certification. As you progress through the learning path, you’ll earn Completion Badges, Skill Badges, and eventually your Certification. These tangible validations of your skills can be shared on your LinkedIn profile, resume, and with potential employers.
  4. Review the sample questions: Familiarize yourself with the format of the exam questions and the content that may be covered. Test your knowledge by answering the sample questions and review the topics for which you got answers wrong.
  5. Take and pass the exam: Once you feel confident in your knowledge and preparation, take the exam. After passing, proudly share your new certification with the Google Cloud Community, on social media, and even on your fridge!


Here are some frequently asked questions about the Professional Cloud Architect Certification, along with their answers:

  1. How often are the exam questions refreshed? Will recently-released products or features be included? The material is refreshed yearly, and the question bank is always evolving. So, you can expect to encounter a variety of questions over time, including those related to recently-released products or features.
  2. Do I need to pass the Associate Cloud Engineer exam beforehand? While it’s not necessary, passing the Associate Cloud Engineer exam can be helpful.
  3. Are there credits, discounts, vouchers, or free options available for the Professional Cloud Architect Certification? You can learn about available vouchers and discounts here.
  4. What happens if I don’t pass the certification exam? How many times can I retake it? If you don’t pass the exam on your first attempt, you can retake it after a 14-day waiting period. If you don’t pass the second time, you must wait 60 days before taking it again. If you don’t pass the third time, you must wait 365 days before attempting it again. It’s important to note that all attempts count toward the total permissible attempts, regardless of exam language or delivery method (onsite or online testing). Any circumvention of the retake policy is considered a violation and may lead to the denial or revocation of your certification.
  5. I’ve taken the training courses on Coursera. Do I need to retake them in Google Cloud Skills Boost? Why don’t Coursera courses offer skill badges? The content of the course and individual labs is the same on Coursera, but skill badges are only available on the Google Cloud Skills Boost platform. Skill badges are earned by completing a series of hands-on labs and a final assessment challenge lab, which test your practical skills.
  6. Is the exam open book? Can I use study notes or access resources online during the exam? No, both the in-person and online exams are “closed book.” You are not allowed to have any resources or digital devices with you, nor are you permitted to search or access any online resources during the exam. Refer to the Testing requirements for proctored exams for more details.

For more FAQs and answers, you can visit the Help Center.