Choosing from the Indian Civil Services & Indian Engineering Services 2

Civil Services, in India, have always been a coveted choice. However, over the years, it has become highly competitive for the aspirants and has been attracting a large number of candidates from the branch-specific areas like engineers. Such a huge turn out towards one service is lessening the chances of aspirants from other non-technical fields across the nation, is raising brows over the question – ‘why is Civil Services becoming a coveted choice for the Indian Engineering Services aspirants or is it just a trend? In this article, we will discuss this much-debated topic ‘Choosing from Indian Civil Services & Indian Engineering Services’, & all the possible reasons, and if you may have any opinions about the same, please do share with us in the comments section below.

Civil Services & Indian Engineering Services are, by far, two of the most aspired options. Examination for both services is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), every year, and the selected candidates are staffed for Group ‘A’ officers’ positions. However, recruitment for both these services is done for two entirely ‘different-in-nature’ jobs. As you may already be aware of, Civil Services, in comparison to Indian Engineering services, is more of a generic profile that is responsible for Public Administration at various levels, whereas, the latter is a more technical field which caters to the engineering needs of the society. To understand the services better, have a quick look at the chart below –

Criterions Civil Services Exam Indian Engineering Services Exam


Best Coaching for preparation Chanakya IAS Academy Made Easy
Nature of the Job Diversified nature dealing with matters of Public Concern Specified tasks dealing with technical expertise and handling
Services staffed for IAS/IPS/IFS/IRS, etc. Technical departments like the Railways, Roadways, Defence, Telecommunication, Power, etc.
Exam Conducted by Union Public Service Commission Union Public Service Commission
Vacancies (On an average) 1000 (Approx.) 500 (Approx.)
Eligibility for the Exam Must be an Indian National with a graduate degree, in any field, from any recognised University Must be an Indian National with a graduate degree, in the Engineering filed, from any recognised University
Applying for the Exam Through UPSC’s official website Through UPSC’s official website
Registration/Application Fee Rs. 100/- (Exemption for reserved & female applicants) Rs. 200/- (Exemption for reserved & female applicants)
Stages of the Exam Tri-staged – The Preliminary, The Mains & the Interviews (Personality Test) Tri-staged – The Preliminary, The Mains & the Interviews (Personality Test)
Syllabus Diverse but generic in Nature In-depths of the engineering disciplines
Ideal preparation period 12 – 14 months 6-8 months

Despite the limited vacancies at the Civil Services, if we compare the number of aspirants applying for the Civil Services Exam is way higher, (around 10 lakh each year), than the Engineering exam, which is around 2 lakh each year. If you go back around past 10th years and look at the number of applicants in Civil Services, it was around 2-3 lakh applicants only. Now, with such increasing competition and lessened job opportunities, it is obvious that the youth has started to turn up and strongly incline towards pursuing multiple career choices, for a safer future.

Is it worth to give both the exams, being an Engineer already?

Well, the choice should be totally yours. By now, you already understand the basic difference between both the services and it depends on you as to where do you look yourself at 10 years from now. Considering the above-mentioned chart, you can contemplate your choices as follows –

  1. Civil Services is totally Public Service and involve lesser technical aspects, in comparison. So, if you are more inclined towards technical services or engineering part, so IES would be the better choice, and if you are more inclined towards public service or the administrative service, the Civil Services and IAS would be the choice.
  2. Examination for Civil Services are conducted to staff for prestigious positions like the Indian Administrative Services, Indian Police Services, etc., while the IES Exam staffs for lesser hyped technical profiles, but engineering department of prominent sectors like the Railways, Power, etc. What is your pick?
  3. Candidate need not have a specialised graduate degree to apply for the CSE (Any graduate field is suitable) while for the IES, a graduate degree in Engineering stream is a must. However, Competition, as already mentioned is way higher in Civil Services.
  4. CSE does offer you optional subjects from the engineering stream like the electrical, mechanical or the civil. But if by any chance you are a Telecommunication or electronics student, CSE is not the right path, unless you wish to switch your streams.
  5. With any lesser interest in the engineering subjects, you will still have a choice to make from various other optional subjects like the social sciences, etc.
  6. Talking about the syllabus, as mentioned in the above-mentioned chart, Civil Services Examination deals with a vast ocean of information to learn from. Not that you must know everything under the sky, but a good knowledge of every subject/topic mentioned in the syllabus and an honest opinion for all the analytical or logical situation is a must. For this, you must know the syllabus for both the exams and understand it in full-depths.
  7. In a point mentioned above, we spoke about the prestige associated Civil Services Exam. Well, this prestige surely comes with unmatched power and fame which an IAS officer enjoys, which is lesser in IAS if we make a comparison. If the authority, power, fame or even the prestige is a lure, think twice because IES does not offer you all this in similar capacities.

As an Administrative Officer, you will be in charge of working over diverse areas under your jurisdiction. Honestly serving such responsible positions can promote you to highly dignified positions like IFS serving as a diplomat can become Ambassador, an IAS becomes the cabinet secretary, and so on. On the other hand, Indian Engineering services offer you to work under diverse technical areas like the Indian Army, Military Engineer Services, Indian Ordnance Factories Service, etc. Engineering services relatively offer to work with the lesser public or political interference and is a low-profile job dealing with just the assigned role, but there are names, like E. Sreedharan, K.C. Banerjee, etc., who have shinned even in the low-key profiles, winning high Civilian awards by the Government of India.

Altogether, both the services have their own kind pros and con’s which will help you make a quick choice between the best options to suit your kind of career choice. Just make sure that whatever is your pick, the preparation phase is ideally planned, so that your efforts reap your sweeter fruits.

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