Becoming a Google Cloud Champion Innovator in less than a year has been an exhilarating journey, filled with intense learning, relentless perseverance, and a deep passion for technology. This prestigious title is not just a personal milestone but a recognition of my commitment to excellence and innovation within the Google Cloud ecosystem.

Google Cloud Champion Innovators are part of a global network of over 500 professionals who are nominated by Googlers for their exceptional technical expertise in Google Cloud products and services. These individuals are at the forefront of their respective fields, driving technological advancements and inspiring the broader community through their contributions to conferences, open-source projects, forums, blogs, workshops, and social media.

In this article, I will take you through my journey, starting from when I first delved into Google Cloud in February 2023, to earning multiple professional certifications, contributing to the community through content creation, and finally, joining the Champion Innovator Program in January 2024. By sharing my experiences, I hope to provide insights and inspiration for anyone looking to achieve similar success in the dynamic world of cloud computing.

My Journey with Google Cloud

In February 2023, I joined Astrafy as an MLOps engineer, a role that marked the beginning of my deep dive into the world of Google Cloud. The opportunity to work with a cutting-edge technology stack at a non-bureaucratic, fast-paced consultancy company was incredibly exciting. I was eager to explore the capabilities of Google Cloud and leverage its powerful tools to drive innovation in our machine learning operations.

From the very beginning, I was fascinated by the extensive range of services offered by Google Cloud. As an MLOps engineer, I was particularly interested in how Google Cloud’s products could enhance our machine learning workflows, streamline deployment processes, and optimize performance. This new role presented a steep learning curve, but I was more than ready to embrace the challenge.

My first major project at Astrafy was both challenging and rewarding. The customer was running a data processing pipeline on a virtual machine (VM) using the Kedro framework, which presented several significant issues:

  • Scaling Issues: The pipeline struggled to scale effectively with increasing data volumes.

  • Lack of Proper Monitoring: There was minimal visibility into the pipeline’s performance and stages.

  • Infrastructure Maintenance: Managing the VM and associated infrastructure was time-consuming and cumbersome.

The task was to refactor this pipeline to address these drawbacks. We chose to migrate the pipeline to Google Cloud Dataflow and Vertex AI, aiming to improve scalability, monitoring, and ease of infrastructure management.

The results of migrating from the Kedro framework on a VM to Cloud Dataflow were remarkable:

  • 70% Speed Increase: The new pipeline processed data much faster, significantly improving overall performance.

  • 35% Cost Reduction: Optimizations and efficient resource use led to substantial cost savings.

  • Full Observability: We achieved complete visibility into each stage of the pipeline with detailed logs and monitoring, facilitating better performance tracking and troubleshooting.

  • Optimized BigQuery Outputs: The output tables in BigQuery were optimized with partitioning and clustering, enhancing query performance and data management.

  • Fast Iteration: The well-structured codebase provided by Astrafy enabled rapid development and iteration of new features and improvements.

Achieving Google Cloud Professional Certifications

Earning Google Cloud Professional certifications was a crucial step in my journey to becoming a Google Cloud Champion Innovator. These certifications provided me with the technical knowledge and confidence needed to deeply understand the cloud environment and be able to find the optimal architecture. I passed all professional Google Cloud certifications. It was very challenging at the beginning, but the more I did, the more I understood how all the different components worked together. Here is the list of certifications I obtained, along with the dates:

  • Google Cloud Certified — Associate Cloud Engineer — April 19, 2023

  • Google Cloud Certified — Professional Machine Learning Engineer — May 10, 2023

  • Google Cloud Certified — Professional Cloud Architect — July 6, 2023

  • Google Cloud Certified — Professional Cloud Network Engineer — August 21, 2023

  • Google Cloud Certified — Professional Cloud Security Engineer — September 26, 2023

  • Google Cloud Certified — Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer — October 24, 2023

  • Google Cloud Certified — Professional Cloud Developer — November 14, 2023

  • Google Cloud Certified — Professional Data Engineer — November 24, 2023

  • Google Cloud Certified — Professional Cloud Database Engineer — December 14, 2023

Strategies for Passing the Certifications

I’m very stubborn when it comes to technology. I do not stop until I understand how a service or a system works. That really helped when studying for the exams because it made me connect the dots of all Google Cloud services and how they integrate with each other.

To study for the exams I used mainly two resources:

  • Specific certification course on CloudGuru

  • A lot (A lot!) of questions on

Besides, I always played with the solutions and technologies that were in the topics of each certification. Playing around with those gives you real experience of what is possible and what is not.

Contributing to the Community

A key aspect of my journey to becoming a Google Cloud Champion Innovator has been my active contribution to the tech community. Sharing knowledge and engaging with others has helped me solidify my own understanding.

Writing Articles on Medium

From the onset of my Google Cloud journey, I committed to documenting and sharing my experiences through articles on Medium. Here is a list of the articles I have written, along with their publication dates:

  • Batch/Online Predictions with Pytorch Hugging Face Models on Google Cloud — April 26, 2023

  • Automatize App Deployment Behind an HTTPS Load Balancer in GKE Using Istio and Terraform — August 28, 2023

  • Authenticate to Google Cloud from Terraform Cloud Using Workload Identity — August 30, 2023

  • Deploy Airflow on Google Cloud Platform Using Terraform — October 3, 2023

  • Practical FinOps on Google Cloud — March 14, 2024

  • Running dbt in Production: Strategy Comparison — March 18, 2024

  • How to Change Partition Column in dbt Incrementally Without Losing Any Data in BigQuery — March 25, 2024

  • Google Cloud Logging: Complete Guide on Usage and Pricing Optimization — April 15, 2024

  • Dataform and Terraform: Automate SQL Pipelines in Production — April 26, 2024

The Role of Content Creation and Community Engagement

Importance of Creating and Sharing Content

Creating and sharing content has been key in my journey as a Google Cloud Champion Innovator. By documenting my experiences, challenges, and solutions, I have been able to contribute significantly to the Google Cloud community. Content creation serves multiple purposes: it reinforces my own learning, provides valuable resources to others, and promotes a culture of knowledge sharing. Writing articles and engaging in discussions allow me to stay in the loop of new services and possibilities while helping others along the way.

How Google Promotes and Supports These Activities

Google actively encourages and supports content creation and community engagement among its Champions. By providing early access to pre-release products, Google enables us to explore new features and share our insights with the community. This not only helps us stay ahead in the rapidly evolving tech landscape but also allows us to influence the development of these products through feedback.

Moreover, Google offers various platforms and events where Champions can showcase their work. Conferences, workshops, and webinars are excellent opportunities to present our findings and connect with a broader audience. Google’s support extends to promoting our content through their official channels, amplifying our reach and impact.

Personal Experiences and Benefits

Engaging in content creation and community activities has been incredibly rewarding. Writing articles on Medium, participating in forums, and speaking at events have enhanced my visibility and credibility within the Google Cloud ecosystem. These activities have opened doors to collaborations, speaking engagements, and new projects.

One notable benefit has been the feedback and interaction with readers. Their questions and comments often lead to deeper insights and sometimes new content ideas. Additionally, these interactions have helped build a strong professional network, offering diverse perspectives and support.


Reflection on the Journey

Reflecting on my journey, becoming a Google Cloud Champion Innovator in less than a year has been an incredible experience. It required dedication, continuous learning, and a passion for sharing knowledge. The support from Google and the community has been invaluable, and the challenges faced along the way have only strengthened my resolve and expertise.

Encouragement for Others to Pursue Similar Paths

To anyone aspiring to achieve similar success, my advice is to embrace a mindset of continuous learning and community involvement. Start by building a strong foundation through certifications and hands-on projects. Share your knowledge through writing, speaking, and engaging with the community. Remember, the journey is as important as the destination. Every step you take, every challenge you overcome, and every piece of knowledge you share brings you closer to your goals and contributes to the growth of the broader tech community.

Thank you

If you enjoyed reading this article, follow Astrafy on LinkedIn, Medium, and YouTube to be notified of the next article. If you are looking for support on Modern Data Stack or Google Cloud solutions, feel free to reach out to us at
If you want to know more about Alex's journey feel free to follow him on LinkedIn.