To Start Using Google Cloud…

Let’s start with an confession; I’m not the most technologically gifted. When I started my Qwiklabs tutorial on Google Cloud Platform’s essential tools and services, I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to keep up with all the Cloud has to offer.

But there was no reason to worry. The Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Essentials quest requires no prerequisites or background knowledge in the field of cloud computation. (There’s a pop-up that asks for a code when you click the link – guess you’ll have to read to the end of the article to get it!) Everyone starts somewhere, and Qwiklabs is excited to help you take that first step. This series of hands-on labs offered in this beginner’s course are accessible, easy to navigate, and pretty fun to complete – no matter how novice a learner might be, you can finish the GCP Essentials quest and earn your first Google Cloud badge in one day!

  • First, an introduction to the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Users are given plenty of time to learn the ins and outs of operating the platform’s console. A Tour of Qwiklabs and the Google Cloud Platform includes an introduction of basic features like Admin, Project Info, and Billing. It’s a stylish homebase for all your GCP learning. The heft of the learning is done in the Cloud Shell, which lets users work out any coding they’re learning in an easy-to-use (and easy to correct!) application.

 

  • Cloud Shell is a major help in learning how to Create a Virtual Machine. This lab lets you run a plethora of different operating systems (five different types of Linux alone!) as you create and deploy web servers. Grow confident in connecting your cloud with other external resources online, and stake a claim on their own corner of the internet with the Google Cloud Marketplace, which teaches our learners to build operating systems and databases of their own.

 

  • Need to review monitor how your virtual machine is running? Use Stackdriver! Google’s own CMS service makes it easy to sign up and view the performance of your work, as well as run diagnostics on anything that doesn’t seem quite right.

 

It was thrilling to finish a lab and feel the satisfaction of building something both useful and user-friendly – I even got a cool badge out of it.

Want to earn your own? Use this link and enter code 1q-gcpe-976 to get a one month pass for everything in the Qwiklabs catalog at no charge. Hurry, code expires Feb. 10, 2019. Hope to see you there!

New quest: Exploring APIs

This is Holly. She is a good dog, and according to the Cloud Vision API, she is a beagle. Test your pet’s background with a lab – cheaper than a DNA kit – with the new Exploring APIs quest. Enroll now and use code 1q-api-685 for 25 free Qwiklabs credits to start your quest. Hurry, code expires February 10, 2019. 

APIs allow you to access Google Cloud features and data from your own application. The labs in this quest will equip you to build complex scenarios to take advantage of GCP’s powerful compute tools. The APIs Explorer gives you a quick and easy way to create complex API calls, even if you don’t consider yourself an API expert. Here’s some of what you’ll do in the quest:

  • APIs Explorer: Qwik Start – You can use your pet’s photo in place of the provided image. Just make sure to change the name of the file (including the file extension) to demo-image.jpg. Floofs aside, imagine how this technology might be used in a retail warehouse to help packing robots find the product you ordered.
  • APIs Explorer: Compute Engine – Learn how to create a Compute Engine instance with Explorer, then monitor CPU usage with StackDriver. This Cloud Engineer role outside of Boston, paying up to $180k, is looking for someone who can help “configure (through automation) infrastructure and applications for high performance and highly available operation to meet business needs.” There’s an opportunity to use what you know about APIs to make a real business impact.
  • APIs Explorer: IoT – Want to get into IIoT in 2019? Start by creating a temperature telemetry stream in this lab.

Whether you’re identifying pet breeds or landing a new job, complete the quest and add the badge to your resume. Good luck!

The 30-day challenge you want to join

Big data is one of the top growing career fields in tech right now (according to Dice, Forbes and others). Learning  how to work with data in the cloud is easier than you think. 

Challenge yourself! Start 2019 with a new Google Cloud badge. Set yourself a goal to complete the Data Engineering quest in 30 days. Use code 1q-30days-806 to get a free 30-day pass to Qwiklabs, and begin your challenge. EXTENDED to January 11 – enroll by Friday to get your free pass (:

This quest is designed to help you practice topics and use cases for the Data Engineering certification exam. Here’s some of what you’ll learn:

  1. Cloud TPU: Qwik Start! You get to play with TPUs and TensorFlow. Need I say more?
  2. Predict Housing Prices with Tensorflow and Cloud ML Engine – In this lab you will build an end to end machine learning solution using Tensorflow + Cloud ML Engine and leverage the cloud for distributed training and online prediction. For extra credit, check out this talk on forecasting stock returns with the same tools (:
  3. Predict Taxi Fare with a BigQuery ML Forecasting Model – Taxi! Explore millions of New York City yellow taxi cab trips available in a BigQuery Public Dataset, create a ML model inside of BigQuery to predict the fare, and evaluate the performance of your model to make predictions.

Complete the quest and automatically receive another 30-days free – what quest will you take next? And don’t forget to add your new Google Cloud badge to your resume:

Good luck, and best wishes to you for a healthy and happy 2019!

What do Princess Leia headphones and SQL have in common?

Flare leg jeans, Princess Leia headphones and dad sneakers are all back in style and improving with age (OK the headphones at least sound better). Know what else has improved since its invention in the 70s? SQL.

Whether you’re digging deep into Big Query on a daily basis or you’re peripherally aware that your company relies on a SQL database (it probably does), SQL is better than ever in 2018 when you pair it with the power of GCP’s infrastructure. Set yourself apart among your peers by enrolling in the new Cloud SQL quest and learn how your company can take advantage of Cloud SQL’s simplicity, reliability and security. 

Use this link to enroll by Friday and you will get 35 credits to start your Quest free of charge. Hurry, offer ends soon!

Here’s some of what you will learn in the new quest:

  • Introduction to SQL for BigQuery and Cloud SQL: Start with this high-rated lab to get a basic understanding of SQL and GCP. “Good examples” and “learned SQL commands” according to lab reviews.
  • Choose your own adventure: Create a Cloud SQL instance with either Terraform or Deployment Manager. Or since you’re a subscriber, take both labs for no extra cost!
  • Meme me up: Deploy a highly available and scalable “meme generator” application by configuring a Postgres Cloud SQL database and connecting it to a Kubernetes cluster.

May the force be with you on your quest!

No CC required for this Cyber Monday deal

What’s so special about Qwiklabs.com? It might be the only site you visit today that does not require your credit card. Just released, 10 free labs are available now in the GCP catalog. The new skills you learn will not break, go out of style or require batteries. Instead of online shopping, start your next career move free of charge and learn how to:

  1. Create a small App Engine application that displays a short message. Comes with video.
  2. Give your brain a workout by practicing with the Google Fitness API – and you’ll learn about the architecture and basic functioning of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

  3. Write a demo app that retrieves data from G Suite APIs. You can’t go wrong with free G Suite training. Plus, you’ll get a free start on your G Suite: Integrations quest.
  4. Create your own App Maker app that has a Google Cloud SQL Database, Google Maps integration, and a Mobile Responsive Design. And of course, fully published and ready to use. 

Get these free labs and more at qwiklabs.com – and stay tuned, the catalog will continue to grow!

Cloud SQL: There’s a new quest for that!

SQL was developed in the 1970s but don’t think it’s too old to learn new tricks. SQL remains the most in-demand skill for data analysts, and it’s getting more powerful by the day with the help of cloud technology.

Cloud SQL hosted on GCP, offers high performance, vertical scalability and convenience. Why not see for yourself? Just released, enroll in the new Cloud SQL quest by Tuesday, November 30th and you’ll get a 1-month pass to Qwiklabs to get practice Cloud SQL on GCP (free of charge, no CC required). Here are some of the labs that you’ll take to earn your Cloud SQL badge:

  1. Dealing with flight delays? There’s a lab for that! Load Data into Google Cloud SQL to build data model to test consistency between flight arrival and departure time. 

This lab uses code samples from the Data Science on GCP book and covers configuration of Google Cloud SQL. You’ll prepare your environment by cloning the code samples on GCP repository and then create a Cloud SQL instance. After importing flight data from CSV into Cloud SQL, you’ll write queries to build a data model:

Take the quiz to reinforce your understanding:

2. You still haven’t built a website for your cousin, and the holidays are just around the corner? There’s a lab for that! Learn how to build a website qwikly and cheaply with the App Engine and WordPress lab.

  1. You’ll create a Console project with Cloud SQL instance and storage bucket, and configure them to sync with your WordPress blog. Then set up a dependency management tool for PHP, Composer:

Is your Composer output similar to the one from the lab? Share your results @Qwiklabs.

Tip: Having trouble with step 3 of creating your WordPress project? You’ll need to enter the credentials from connection details. Find them on the left side of your lab manual:

Last, you’ll activate Cloud Storage plugin to deploy and configure your project. This plugin lets you upload media files to the Cloud Storage bucket and serve them from there. Be sure to test your knowledge and show off your results @Qwiklabs:

3. Want to learn how to develop applications with mobile responsive design but don’t have the time? There’s a lab for that! Build Apps with Google App Maker in a fraction of time with little (or even no) coding experience.

  1. When you’re done, your app will have a Cloud SQL database to set up business data models, maps integration to locate your business and mobile responsive design. It’ll look like this:

Complete the quest and don’t forget to add this shiny new badge to your resume.

Are you ready for an AI-first future?

Join Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene and other experts for a free online conference on the future of artificial intelligence. The conference rolls through time zones too, so no matter where you are in the world, there’s a session for you.

Prepare yourself for deep-dives by taking cloud training ahead of time. Each of the following quests guides you through using GCP tools to answer an AI business question or solve a technical challenge. Use what you learn to ask the best questions and have the most meaningful conversations with your conference moderators. Use these links for a 1-month pass to Qwiklabs (free of charge, no CC required). Offer ends November 13th. 

  1. Get your data insight-ready:

Enroll in the Baseline: Data, ML, AI quest to work with BigQuery, Cloud Speech API and Cloud ML Engine. Follow Mark as he guides your path in these 1-minute videos. You’re on your way to building a strong foundation in data management, cloud data warehouse and real-time analytics to implement AI.

2. Put AI to work, fast:

Enroll in the Data Science on GCP quests to practice data ingestion, preparation, exploration and visualization. Finish the first quest and move on to the next, which zooms in on running machine learning jobs with state-of-the-art tools and real-world data sets. The material for these quests comes from a book by Lak, who amongst others will elaborate on how data scientists, developers and others can incorporate AI into their products during the conference. 

3. See AI in action:

Brush up on your ML skills with the Machine Learning APIs quest – some of my favorite labs guide you through use cases like image classification with Cloud Vision API and building an AI chatbot (: Then you’re well on your way to learn how businesses use AI to solve complex business problems like fighting fraud.

Think you can finish one of these quests in one month? Enroll now and be the stand-out participant at the conference! 

Cloud training tricks & treats

It was a dark and stormy night. The power flickers, then goes out. Oh no, all of your servers in the next room are off! Your business is down until further notice!

Sound scary? We can help. Whether you’re moving from on-premise to the cloud or looking to build your cloud skills to make your next career move, learn how the public cloud can help you vanquish the monster in your closet with Google Cloud labs. And your Halloween treat? Click here to take the “happy Halloween” lab and you’ll get candy – wait – Qwiklabs credits (30 of them) – enough to take up to 10 labs free of charge. Hurry, offer ends at midnight (on November 2)!

Use those credits to get training on moving your business-critical apps from the server closet (it’s probably full of monsters after all) to Google Cloud. These labs will help you prepare for the move:

  • Deploy an app that says “hello world and happy Halloween!” from the cloud with the App Engine: Qwik Start lab.  This lab is part of the Baseline: Deploy & Develop quest. Enroll in the quest and get hands-on experience with the Google App Engine framework by launching Python, Ruby, and Java apps (just to name a few). 
  • Networking 101: Learn how GCP might differ from an on-premises setup. “Good explanation,” said one reviewer 2 days ago.
  • Already using containers on-prem? Learn how to do it on the cloud with Google Container Engine. This lab earned seven 5-star reviews in the last 24 hours. 
  • The phrase “data loss” is almost as scary as meeting a werewolf in a creepy forest when you’re holding a rare hamburger. Learn how to use the Data Loss Prevention API to inspect a string of data for sensitive information and redact any that you find. The Data Loss Prevention API provides programmatic access to a powerful detection engine for personally identifiable information and other privacy-sensitive data in unstructured data streams. Try it with a lab.
  • Uh-oh, your app has a bug in it. Learn how Stackdriver APM (Application Performance Management) can help you detect, track, and debug errors in your application with this lab. And mind the monster socks!

Happy Halloween!

Become a data scientist without a PhD: Part 2

Remember that $1.2 trillion business value of AI? Just released, a new set of data science labs zoom in on Google Cloud’s data science and ML tools.  Enroll in the Data Science on GCP: Machine Learning quest by Monday, November 15th and you’ll get 1 month pass to Qwiklabs (free of charge, no CC required). You’ll run machine learning jobs with state-of-the-art tools and real-world data sets.

There are over 8,500 Data Scientist jobs on LinkedIn. 68% of those jobs require machine learning expertise. As a data scientist, you will transform data to:

  • Improve revenue, business agility, customer experience
  • Reduce costs
  • Development of new products and or product features

Don’t have these skills, or want to improve? You don’t need a PhD. Learn how to do all of these things and more with a lab. Here are some of the labs:

  1. Machine Learning with Spark on Google Cloud Dataproc lab: Analyze data using Spark with the PySpark interactive shell on the master node of the Cloud Dataproc cluster running on Google Cloud Datalab:

Then create and train a Spark Dataframe by importing, developing, saving and restoring a logistic regression model. You will then build data visualizations with Jupyter notebooks. In your model, does the on-time arrival probability rise with overall flight distance? Share your results @Qwiklabs!

2. Processing Time Windowed Data with Apache Beam and Cloud Dataflow (Java): You’ll configure Maven Apache using the starter project archetype for Cloud Dataflow projects:

Patience! This will take a few minutes to compile… When the build is successful, you should see something like this:

Finally! You’re ready to deploy a Java application to Apache Beam to create training and test data files.

If you are successful, you should see these files. Did you get it? Share your results! @Qwiklabs.

3. Bayes Classification with Cloud Datalab, Spark and Pig on Google Cloud Dataproc: Have you ever performed quantization of a data set? Here’s your chance. Use Dataproc, Datalab and Spark to perform quantization of a dataset to improve the accuracy of a data model. Then visualize your data with Jupyter notebooks and Apache Pig:

And don’t forget about part 1, the Data Science on GCP quest. Both quests cover the hands-on exercises described in Data Science on Google Cloud Platform book by Valliappa Lakshmanan (Lak).

New Quest: G Suite Integrations

G Suite has over 4 million customers today, and growing.  Are you one of them? Get the most out of G Suite and Google Cloud’s powerful tools. Just released, the G Suite: Integrations quest features 8 new G Suite labs, each one designed to make you look smarter than the one before. Get G Suite training on advanced tools like integrating BigQuery and Google Slides for data visualization and building your own custom apps for Google Sheets.

Complete all 8 labs and add the new G Suite badge to your resume. And if you’re one of the first 100 people to enroll using this link, you will receive 50 Qwiklabs credits free of charge (enough to complete the quest). Enroll now.

Here’s some of what you’ll do:

  1. Learn how to write code that accesses Google developer technologies, in just 4 lines of JavaScript.
  2. Use the Apps Script CLI, or clasp, to create and publish web apps and add-ons for products like Sheets, Docs, Forms, and Slides from the command line. In this lab you will learn to create, edit, and deploy Apps Script projects locally.
  3. Build a chatbot for Hangouts Chat. This one is “Attendance Bot” – you will learn to integrate it with a user’s vacation responder and meetings in Calendar. What kind of chatbot would improve your daily routine (and maybe lunchbreak)?
  4. Got a presentation coming up? Use Google Slides API as a Custom Presentation Tool. Learn to build a presentation using the Google Slides API and BigQuery to present an analysis of the most common software licenses. Take what you learn in the lab to your next presentation and knock your stakeholders’ socks off.
  5. More Big Data and Slides – learn how to leverage two Google developer platforms, G Suite and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), to collect, analyze and present data.                                                                                          
  6. Good luck on your quest! And don’t forget to share your badge when you complete it – @Qwiklabs – after all, you earned it.