There is a beta program that's currently getting close towards the end. Existing certification holders received an email to register for the new certification exams:
- Salesforce Certified App Builder
- Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I
- Salesforce Certified Platform Developer II
The Platform Developer II is aiming to replace the current Advanced Developer DEV501.
Many of us got rejected as I believe this was "first-in-first-served" type of registration. However, a couple of weeks later I got an acceptance email for "Salesforce Certified Platform Developer II" saying that I have to register within 2 days and take the exam within a couple of weeks. "If you fail to register or cancel, another candidate will be chosen instead" (that's how I got in I reckon).
Why is there a beta program?
Salesforce is evaluating the responses from the candidates who completed the beta exams so that they're able to finalise the content as well as set the passing score based on that. As far as I know, this is only valid for the multiple choice part of the exam. Nothing has been mentioned in terms of the assignment.
Based on the multiple choice content, I could say that it was an in-depth DEV501.
If you can still register for the current DEV501, it would be definitely easier than the Platform Developer II. Although, I'm not sure whether the current DEV501 holders will automatically get the Platform Developer II credential. So, if you're keen to get the new credentials, I'd recommend for you to wait another couple of months before these new certs are generally available.