The new certification structure has been announced by Microsoft and the changes are rather broad and sweeping. MCITP is gone. In what appears to be an attempt to recapture the popularity of the MCSE acronym MCITP has been replaced with MCSE, Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert. MCSA has also been brought back and now stands for Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate. It is now the intermediate level on your way to earning the MCSE like before, only now it will be that way for all certs. The top level Microsoft Certified Master certification has been renamed Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM). Oh, and for the developers out there, MCSD is back, replacing the MCPD. If memory serves, it used to stand for Solutions Developer like it does now. And finally, if you pass one exam you are an MCP, just like the old days before MCTS.
The first MCSE certification tracks to be available are MCSE for SQL Server 2012 and MCSE Private Cloud. I think it's unfortunate that the DBA acronym is gone from the cert now but who knows, it might make a comeback on the next round of changes. MCSE: Data Platform just doesn't say much to me.
Check out the Microsoft Learning website for more: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/cert-overview.aspx
Now for those waiting to hear what the upgrade path was going to be from MICTP: SQL 2008 DBA or Developer here it is in all it's ungloriousness. You have to take three exams to upgrade your cert. THREE!!. I skipped the beta exams for SQL 2012 because I thought there would be one single upgrade exam I could take, but no dice. All exams are prefaced with 70-. 457 and 458 are Part 1 and Part 2 exams for upgrading your MCTS certs to the new MCSA: SQL Server 2012 cert. 459 is then necessary for upgrading your MCITP DBA or Developer cert to MCSE: Data Platform. I guess it doesn't help me that I have both the DBA and Developer certs on 2008. For BI certified individuals you have to take 457, 458 and 460. Unless the upgrade exams have beta versions that go through testing it looks as though all of us wanting to upgrade will have to wait until August 2012. The exams for the non-upgrade path should be available to the general public in June. The beta testing for those exams is nearly over.
One positive thing I can say is I like the way SQL Server seems to always be one of the first products to be part of Microsoft's certification revamp. I remember when MCITP first came on the scene. MCITP for SQL Server 2005 was one of the first certs available under that system. I also recall that they initially said there would be no versions attached to the cert and that you'd have to renew or have it expire but that quickly got squashed. Looks like they are trying it again with no version tied to the MCSE but with a three year expiration of your certification. We'll see how long it lasts this time.