A few people (mostly NE US and UK) have emailed me that they received the following notification from Salesforce.com Training and Certification sometime around Christmas:

You recently registered for the Salesforce.com Certified Force.com Advanced Developer Programming Assignment and Essay. Due to seasonably high demand for the Force.com experts who will be evaluating your assignments, we are postponing the January/February assignment window until further notice.

I emailed Theresa at Salesforce.com and asked for more information. It looks like only some people are affected (not sure the rhyme or reason) but here is what she sent me:

Why did you postpone this assignment/essay opportunity?
Our Force.com experts are in high demand and we cannot do the assignment judging without them. Due to recent resourcing changes, we were concerned that we would not be able to evaluate assignments and respond to our candidates in a timely manner. Candidates invest a lot of time in the assignment, and we did not want them to be frustrated by the long response time our resource availability would cause. Therefore, we opted to postpone the assignment/essay opportunity until we could ensure a quality evaluation and timely response.

When will the next registration window open?
We do not have the next registration window scheduled. Candidates will be notified when the next window opens.

Did you postpone for all candidates?
No. Based on resource availability, we chose to allow customer candidates to complete the assignment.

What about the exam – are you postponing that too?
Yes. We will put the exam portion of the Force.com Advanced Developer program on “hold” until we develop our plan for our next window. This will ensure that we do not build a large backlog of candidates and potentially cause frustration that an assignment/essay window is not open. During this time, we will also be completing our annual certification exam-item review so that all exams and the program are re-vamped prior to re-opening.

Is this credential going away? Are you replacing it with an exam-only credential?
No. The Force.com Advanced Developer credential is still an important part of our certification program. We will be giving candidates who have already passed the exam a designation and logo that enables them to demonstrate that they are in the process of earning the Force.com Advanced Developer credential, but this is not a replacement or a new certification credential.

What should I tell people who are interested in the Force.com Advanced Developer credential?
If a person is interested in entering the program when we re-open it, they should send an email to certification@salesforce.com requesting to receive notification when they can register for the exam.