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Top Google Cloud Certifications

Cailin  Potami
Cailin Potami
Business News Daily Staff
Updated Jan 23, 2023

These Google cloud certifications can help you stand out from other job applicants.

  • Many businesses are adopting cloud computing technology, increasing the demand for specialized IT professionals. 
  • Google Cloud is a growing leader in the cloud computing space and offers a wide variety of certifications.
  • Google Cloud certifications require candidates to complete exams and demonstrate specific knowledge. 
  • This article is for IT professionals considering Google Cloud certifications to advance their careers. 

Today’s businesses are adopting cloud computing infrastructures more than ever to optimize their operations. In response, information technology professionals are developing robust cloud technology skill sets to serve these organizations better. Certifications in cloud-based tools from major players like Google offer IT professionals a competitive edge while demonstrating in-demand career skills to hiring managers.

We’ll examine the most essential Google Cloud certifications to help you navigate your career path and show off your skills to potential employers. 

Did you know?Did you know?: The three biggest players in the cloud computing game are Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, which together hold over 60% of the market share. Learn about Microsoft certifications that cover Azure and other categories.

Google Cloud Platform certification overview

Google introduced an expanded range of professional certifications. It offers one foundational-level certificate, one associate-level certificate, and nine professional-level certificates.

  • Foundational Cloud Digital Leader
  • Associate Cloud Engineer
  • Professional Cloud Architect
  • Professional Cloud Database Engineer
  • Professional Data Engineer
  • Professional Cloud Developer
  • Professional Cloud Network Engineer
  • Professional Cloud Security Engineer
  • Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer
  • Professional Google Workspace Administrator 
  • Professional Machine Learning Engineer

Google Cloud certification prices 

To earn a Google certification, candidates must pass an exam. Google offers proctored exams online and in-person at testing centers across the world. 

Registration costs are: 

  • Foundational Cloud Digital Leader: $99 
  • Associate Cloud Engineer: $125 
  • Professional-level certificates: $200 each

Google Cloud certification requirements and recommendations

There are no mandatory classes for any certification. However, Google recommends the following experience levels: 

  • Associate Cloud Engineer. Google recommends at least six months of experience working with Google Cloud for the associate-level credential.
  • Professional-level credentials. For professional-level certifications, Google recommends a minimum of three years of industry experience, with at least one year in designing and managing Google Cloud solutions. 

Google Cloud certification training

Google provides “learning paths” for each certification at no cost. These paths consist of online courses, webinars, and educational documents. Other platforms, like Udemy, Coursera, and Udacity, also offer training materials.  

Did you know?Did you know?: Earning the best IT certifications, including Google Cloud certifications, is an excellent career advancement asset that validates your skills and knowledge.

Google Cloud certifications

Here’s a more in-depth look at Google’s certification offerings. 

1. Cloud Digital Leader certification

Google phased out its G Suite certification program in favor of the more focused Cloud Digital Leader (CDL) certificate. 

CDL is the only Google Cloud certification designed for people in non-technical roles. CDLs have the following characteristics: 

  • CDLs act as a bridge between the technical support team and an organization. 
  • CDLs can clearly communicate about Google Cloud core products and applications. 
  • CDLs should be able to discuss specific problems that Google Cloud products can resolve. 

The CDL exam tests candidates’ knowledge of the following areas:

  • Digital transformation with Google Cloud
  • Google Cloud and data innovation
  • Modernizing infrastructure and applications with Google Cloud 
  • Google Cloud security and operations 

The CDL certification is an excellent Google Cloud entry point for professionals in operational, marketing, or other non-technical roles. It’s the only foundational certificate Google Cloud currently offers. It doesn’t require any specific industry experience – just a desire to learn more about the products and share them with others. 

Google Cloud Leader certification facts and figures

Certification name

Cloud Digital Leader certification

Prerequisites and required courses

None required; recommended learning path is available.

Number of exams

One 

Cost per exam

$99

URL

https://cloud.google.com/certification/cloud-digital-leader 

Self-study materials

Follow the free Cloud Digital Leader learning path.

Recertification information 

CDL certifications are valid for three years. You must recertify during the specified eligibility period.

TipTip: Cloud hosting is a more secure, reliable, and often cost-efficient way to store data than the traditional server-based method.

2. Associate Cloud Engineer

An Associate Cloud Engineer (ACE) performs the following functions: 

  • Deploys applications
  • Monitors operations 
  • Manages enterprise solutions
  • Understands how to use Google Cloud Console and the command line to complete common platform-based tasks
  • Maintains one or more deployed solutions that use Google-managed or self-managed services in the Google Cloud environment.

The ACE exam evaluates the following skills: 

  • Setting up Google Cloud solutions
  • Planning and configuring Google Cloud solutions 
  • Deploying and implementing Google Cloud solutions
  • Operating Google Cloud solutions successfully 
  • Configuring security and access controls for Google Cloud solutions

The ACE credential is best suited to early-stage or mid-career IT professionals interested in cloud computing who work with Google Cloud already or intend to in the future. The ACE certification training courses offer professionals a great way to hone the skills they need to launch and manage Google Cloud Solutions in their workplace.

Associate Cloud Engineer certification facts and figures

Certification name

Associate Cloud Engineer certification

Prerequisites and required courses

None required. Google recommends six months of hands-on experience with Google Cloud. 

Number of exams

One 

Cost per exam

$125

URL

https://cloud.google.com/certification/cloud-engineer 

Self-study materials

Follow the free Cloud Engineer learning path

Recertification information 

ACE certifications are valid for three years. You must recertify during the specified eligibility period.

3. Google Cloud Platform: Professional Cloud Architect

Professional Cloud Architects (PCAs) empower organizations to make effective and efficient use of Google Cloud technologies. PCAs must develop a thorough understanding of Google Cloud solutions and the broader functionality of cloud architecture. Those who hold this credential can design, develop and manage dynamic Google Cloud solutions to meet business objectives that are robust, secure, scalable, and highly available.

The PCA certification exam evaluates the following skills:

  • Designing and planning cloud solution architectures
  • Managing cloud solution architectures
  • Building secure, compliant cloud solutions 
  • Performing analyses for optimizing processes
  • Managing cloud architecture implementations
  • Keeping cloud solutions and operations stable and reliable 

Additionally, test takers must respond to questions about several case studies. 

The PCA certificate represents a more senior credential that might appeal to more established IT professionals with at least three years of experience. PCAs should be knowledgeable and interested in the vast array of Google Cloud tools and business objectives. 

Professional Cloud Architect certification facts and figures

Certification name

Professional Cloud Architect certification

Prerequisites and required courses

None required. Google recommends three years of industry experience with Google Cloud solution management. 

Number of exams

One 

Cost per exam

$200

URL

https://cloud.google.com/certification/cloud-architect 

Self-study materials

Follow the free Cloud Architect learning path

Recertification information 

Certification is valid for two years. You must recertify during the specified eligibility period.

Tip: While the ACE certificate isn’t a prerequisite for PCA certification, it covers many of the skills you’ll need. If you’re interested in becoming a PCA but don’t have the experience, the ACE certificate can be a good place to start. 

4. Google Professional Cloud Database Engineer

A Professional Cloud Database Engineer (PCDE) is a database certification that focuses on designing, operating, and troubleshooting Google Cloud databases. Ideally, PCDEs have broad IT and database experience and are comfortable creating and managing database solutions. 

The PCDE certification exam evaluates the following skills:

  • Designing highly scalable database solutions
  • Migrating data solutions
  • Managing complex database solutions
  • Deploying databases in Google Cloud

PCDEs are highly skilled professionals. They should have over five years of database experience and at least two years of hands-on experience with Google Cloud databases.

Professional Cloud Database Engineer certification facts and figures

Certification name

Professional Cloud Database Engineer certification

Prerequisites and required courses

None required. Google recommends five years of industry experience and two years working with Google Cloud databases. 

Number of exams

One 

Cost per exam

$200

URL

https://cloud.google.com/certification/cloud-database-engineer 

Self-study materials

Follow the free Database Engineer learning path

Recertification information 

Certification is valid for two years. You must recertify during the specified eligibility period.

5. Google Professional Data Engineer

The Professional Data Engineer (PDE) focuses on analyzing and applying data stored in the Google Cloud instead of designing, deploying, or maintaining those systems. PDEs assist their organizations in making data-informed decisions by providing visualizations and expert guidance. They also work closely with existing machine-learning models. The PDE curriculum and exam emphasize data-processing security, reliability, and fault-tolerance, as well as scalability, accuracy, and efficiency.

The PDE certification exam evaluates the following skills:

  • Building and maintaining Google Cloud data structures and databases
  • Designing Google Cloud data-processing systems 
  • Analyzing data that supports Google Cloud machine learning 
  • Using machine learning models
  • Analyzing and optimizing Google Cloud business processes 
  • Ensuring reliable, robust, secure, and compliant data processing systems 
  • Visualizing Google Cloud data 

IT professionals with experience or interest in big data, data analysis, and machine learning could benefit from the PDE certification. It’s also an excellent credential for people with backgrounds and interests in mathematics and data modeling. 

Professional Data Engineer certification facts and figures

Certification name

Professional Data Engineer certification

Prerequisites and required courses

None required. Google recommends three years of industry experience and at least a year designing and managing Google Cloud solutions.

Number of exams

One 

Cost per exam

$200

URL

https://cloud.google.com/certification/data-engineer 

Self-study materials

Follow the free Data Engineer learning path

Recertification information 

Certifications are valid for two years. You must recertify during the specified eligibility period.

TipTip: If you have experience and interest in big data, check out our overview of the best big data certifications.

6. Professional Cloud Developer

The Professional Cloud Developer (PCD) certification is ideal for candidates who use Google Cloud services, tools, and recommended practices to create applications. Candidates should possess the skills necessary to successfully integrate Google Cloud services and conduct application performance monitoring. While the exam does not test coding ability, candidates should be proficient in at least one general-use coding language. 

The PCD certification exam evaluates the following skills:

  • Designing cloud applications
  • Building and testing cloud applications
  • Deploying cloud applications
  • Integrating Google Cloud services into operations
  • Managing performance testing for applications

Professional Cloud Developer certification facts and figures

Certification name

Professional Cloud Developer certification

Prerequisites and required courses

None required. Google recommends three years of industry experience and at least a year designing and managing Google Cloud solutions.

Number of exams

One 

Cost per exam

$200

URL

https://cloud.google.com/certification/cloud-developer 

Self-study materials

Follow the free Cloud Developer learning path

Recertification information 

Certification is valid for two years. You must recertify during the specified eligibility period.

7. Professional Cloud Network Engineer

A Professional Cloud Network Engineer (CNE) is responsible for executing and maintaining network architectures within Google Cloud. In addition to Google Cloud products, successful candidates should be skilled in working with technologies like hybrid connectivity, network architecture security, VPCs, network services, and the Google Cloud Console command-line interface.

The PCD certification exam evaluates the following skills:

  • Designing and planning Google Cloud networks
  • Implementing Virtual Private Clouds 
  • Configuring network services
  • Implementing hybrid connectivity and network security
  • Managing network operations
  • Optimizing network resources

The CNE certification could be a good fit for a network or systems administrator who has been working with cloud technology for a few years. 

Professional Cloud Network Engineer certification facts and figures

Certification name

Professional Cloud Network Engineer

Prerequisites and required courses

None required. Google recommends three years of industry experience and at least a year designing and managing Google Cloud solutions.

Number of exams

One 

Cost per exam

$200

URL

https://cloud.google.com/certification/cloud-network-engineer 

Self-study materials

Follow the free Network Engineer learning path

Recertification information 

Certification is valid for two years. You must recertify during the specified eligibility period.

Did you know?Did you know?: Network engineers may also want to consider other networking certifications, including the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP).

8. Professional Cloud Security Engineer

Another popular option in the Google Cloud certification portfolio is the Professional Cloud Security Engineer (CSE). CSEs aim to prevent and avoid network security threats. They’re well-versed in industry best practices and security protocols, including:

  • Identity and access management
  • Using Google Cloud technologies to safeguard sensitive data
  • Documenting and responding to incidents
  • Compiling logs
  • Interpreting logs
  • Designing, implementing, and managing secure infrastructures on Google Cloud

The CSE certification exam evaluates the following skills:

  • Configuring cloud solution access 
  • Configuring network security
  • Ensuring data security
  • Managing cloud operations
  • Ensuring regulatory compliance

The CSE engineer certification is an asset for any network administrators already working in cloud technologies. However, all network administrators could benefit from the training as more companies make the leap to the cloud. 

Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification facts and figures

Certification name

Professional Cloud Security Engineer

Prerequisites and required courses

None required. Google recommends three years of industry experience and at least a year designing and managing Google Cloud solutions.

Number of exams

One 

Cost per exam

$200

URL

https://cloud.google.com/certification/cloud-security-engineer 

Self-study materials

Follow the free Security Engineer learning path

Recertification information 

Certification is valid for two years. You must recertify during the specified eligibility period.

9. Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer

A Cloud DevOps engineer develops and operates cloud-based applications and services. They analyze a cloud environment’s elements and functions to ensure service reliability.  

The DevOps certification exam evaluates the following skills:

  • Implementing service-monitoring strategies
  • Optimizing performance
  • Ensuring site reliability
  • Performing development testing
  • Managing service incidents 

Cloud DevOps Engineer certification facts and figures

Certification name

Cloud DevOps engineer

Prerequisites and required courses

None required. Google recommends three years of industry experience and at least a year designing and managing Google Cloud solutions.

Number of exams

One 

Cost per exam

$200

URL

https://cloud.google.com/certification/cloud-devops-engineer 

Self-study materials

Follow the free DevOps Engineer learning path

Recertification information 

Certification is valid for two years. You must recertify during the specified eligibility period.

10. Professional Google Workspace Administrator 

A Professional Google Workspace Administrator certification is a mid-career certification for IT professionals who manage and configure Google Workspace services, objects, and environments. These individuals understand their organization’s infrastructure and ensure secure collaboration, communication, and data access. 

The Google Workspace Administrator certification exam evaluates the following skills:

  • Designing Google Workspace access and authorization
  • Configuring and controlling Google Workspace services
  • Monitoring operations
  • Managing endpoint access
  • Fostering Google Workspace collaboration and communication

Professional Google Workspace Administrator certification facts and figures

Certification name

Professional Google Workspace Administrator

Prerequisites and required courses

None required. Google recommends three years of industry experience and at least a year designing and managing Google Cloud solutions.

Number of exams

One 

Cost per exam

$200

URL

https://cloud.google.com/certification/google-workspace-administrator 

Self-study materials

Follow the free Google Workspace Administrator learning path

Recertification information 

Certification is valid for two years. You must recertify during the specified eligibility period.

TipTip: Google Workspace used to be called G Suite. It’s now revamped and includes word processing, spreadsheets, Google Forms, cloud storage, and more.

11. Professional Machine Learning Engineer

Professional Machine Learning engineers create and build machine-learning models to facilitate Google Cloud technologies. This is an advanced IT certification for machine-learning professionals. 

The Professional Machine Learning Engineer certification exam evaluates the following skills:

  • Developing machine-learning models
  • Designing machine-learning solutions
  • Creating scalable solutions
  • Considering and solving machine-learning problems

Professional Machine Learning Engineers certification facts and figures

Certification name

Professional Machine Learning Engineer certification

Prerequisites and required courses

None required. Google recommends three years of industry experience and at least a year designing and managing Google Cloud solutions.

Number of exams

One 

Cost per exam

$200

URL

https://cloud.google.com/certification/machine-learning-engineer 

Self-study materials

Follow the free Google Professional Machine Learning Engineer learning path

Recertification information 

Certification is valid for two years. You must recertify during the specified eligibility period.

Building your cloud computing toolbox 

Business technology is incredibly dynamic, and as fields like cloud computing grow, it’s up to IT professionals to help businesses make the best use of available technology. 

No matter where you are in your IT career, certification programs can help you show your willingness to learn to employers and demonstrate that you’re invested in the future. Certifications can also help you keep your finger on the pulse of emergent data management tools, including the latest Google Cloud products. 

Ed Tittel and Mary Kyle contributed to the reporting and writing in this article. 

Image Credit: Shutterstock
Cailin  Potami
Cailin Potami
Business News Daily Staff
Cailin Potami is a freelance writer and editor with experience covering a range of topics for business and personal finance, including labor, insurance, and cybersecurity basics. They've also developed content for universities and nonprofits. Outside of these sectors, they have published creative nonfiction and poetry."