A Chartered Accountant and a Software Engineer walk into a bar.

Here's a story from last weekend(16th October, 2021). Seems like everytime we have a long weekend, I have a story.

With the long weekend that came with the festive week, I decided to travel and meet a friend of mine after a very long time(about 3 years). We met at a local bar and the prime topic of the discussion was naturally crude oil, natural gas and coal(considering the energy crisis that was brewing in EU and Asia). Eventually the discussion moved to tech, specifically cloud economics and applications of Balassa–Samuelson theory for the current scenario for tech services. The backdrop of this discussion was I re-implemented a part of my risk management system from AWS to GCP, using a GCP native stack, just to understand the landscape of the offerings. We were talking about that as well.

Naturally the discussion went boring(or rather not fitting for a weekend talk) and we decided to play pool. It finally came down to 1 solid and 1 stripe. I was stripes.

To make the ending interesting he proposed a deal. If I win, he takes the tab for the night. If he wins, I would have to finish the certification exam in GCP. This point came in our discussion on cloud and it is something that I started long back but never really took it forward as I was busy and the need for it never came. If I fail the exam, he would sponsor me pizza for 14 days as you had to wait for 14 days to re-take the exam.

If you think about it, it was win-win(if you leave the health aspect out of the equation). But then it was a 1-1 on the pool table and I had to win it. The Ronnie O'Sullivan in me came out, I hit the stripe with a jump shot but a little harder than I intended. It missed, bounced back, hit the solid and put it in the pocket. I lost the game.

Now I had to stick to my end of the deal. After working with the cloud platform, and cloud architecture in general for a considerable amount of time, this exam should in theory be a good validation of what I know. I was planning to take the professional cloud architect certification.

What followed was a journey which started with 10 refresher videos, 3 practice exams, 2 flights and ended with 1 uber ride.

I took the exam and cleared it. Technically speaking, I am now a Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect .

So what's are some takeaway points from the story. There are 2 actually.

  1. If your foundations are right, you could in theory ace the cloud ecosystem. That's basically how the economics around this work. If the foundations are wrong, then it would lead to Dunning-Kruger effect and you would learn it the hard way(atleast I did). I say this because it took me about 2 days of prep to ace the GCP-PCA exam. But the backdop was set about 2 years ago to learn and understand the cloud, datacenter, distributed systems and cloud platforms(specifically GCP and AWS).

  2. One of my favourite Joker quotes is "Madness is like gravity. All it takes is a little push". Replace madness with goals, projects or in this case certifications and the statement still holds. Basically all you need is a little push.

To end the post, A great thanks to A Cloud Guru and Mattias Andersson for the course and the practice exams for GCP-PCA.

A special thanks to Michael Gibbs of Go Cloud Architects. I very recently started watching your videos and they are absolutely fantastic. They open a different and an interesting perspective of the architect vs the engineer in terms of implementation and the thought process.

PS: For the curious, the friend is CA Dheeraj Varma. He's not on any social media so I cant tag him.

PPS: Here's a list of all my cloud certifications

AWS: Amazon Web Services. Its a cloud computing service by Amazon
GCP: Google Cloud Platform. Its a cloud computing service by Google
Balassa–Samuelson Effect: This and this video give a very high level overview. But it is a very interesting topic to go into deep research.
Dunning-Kruger effect: Its the science of what you dont know. Interesting but controversial