Google Associate Cloud Engineer
August 25, 2021
A couple of years ago, I obtained the Google Associate Cloud Engineer certification, so it was re-certification time.
Since it is August and probably also due to the whole ongoing health situation, I’ve not found any test center at a reasonable distance. Therefore, I’ve decided to use the Online Proctored option.
Google relies on Kryterion for their exams, as many other companies do, since Kryterion has more than 1100 associated test centers and, at least in the ICT certification space, it’s one of the most commonly used networks. Having had experience with Red Hat remote certifications, I was expecting at least the same level of user experience with Kryterion.
First of all, the Kryterion Online Proctored offering requires the software Kryterion Sentinel that needs to be installed and only runs on Windows and macOS. This experience is a way worst experience than Red Hat’s self-bootable environment, which can run on any system, does not have any configuration issue, and does not clutter your system. I assume that Sentinel was the solution that Kryterion was already using in the test centers. Still, a good solution for test centers does not automatically mean a good solution for online proctoring.
An aspect that I really hated about the Kryterion Sentinel is their approach to security. In fact, Kryterion “highly recommends disabling all software that can interfere with your online proctored exam. This includes, but is not limited to, pop-up blockers, antivirus software, firewalls, VMWare/Bootcamp, Skype, Photobooth and TeamViewer.” source. The idea of disabling all antiviruses and firewalls does not feel like a great idea to me, also considering that after the exam, the same computer is usually used for other usages. This unsafe situation will not be my situation since I’ll reformat the PC soon and not use it for any other use, if not Kryterion exams in the meantime.
The Kryterion Sentinel assumes the system is configured correctly and tends not to be very verbose on the failures. Due to the previous point and the wording “Kryterion highly recommends”, I initially decided not to terminate the Windows Firewall. The outcome of this decision was that, through Sentinel, I was able to see the webcam loopback, but the proctor was not able to see it. No error or warning was displayed, so I had no idea of it. Once the proctor communicated the issue with me, I stopped the Windows Firewall, and everything started working correctly.
The exam went smoothly, and a provisional result was immediately available. Though, I had to wait until today (that would be seven days) for the official result to be confirmed by Google.
Overall, I think the user experience in the Kryterion test centers is better than the Kryterion Online Proctored one. This experience was sub-optimal but acceptable, and I hope that the next time I renew this certification in a couple of years, I will be able to do it in a test center.