‘Beta, padayi kadam hogaya, abhi sarkari naukari keliye koshish karo aur life main settle ho jaa’

If you’re in India and you’re a graduate, you will certainly hear these words from someone at least once. In fact, we Indian’s are obsessed with government jobs. Actually, we can’t blame them. 

“Sarkar ghar deti hai, pension deti hai, puri family ka muft ilaaj bhi, kitni bachat hoti hai!” 

Then, why not? 

Like all other graduates, government jobs are the top preference among engineers as well. Two of the most common choices made by engineers who wish to go big in their career are Indian Engineering Services and Indian Administrative Services. While IES is exclusively for Engineers, IAS caters to general administrative services under the Indian Government. In fact, a large majority of graduates from India’s premier engineering institutes like IITs try for these two services after graduation.

IES vs IAS: What is it?

What is Indian Engineering Service?

Indian engineering services refer to the government wing of bureaucrats who attend to the technical and managerial requirements of the government of India. The body consists of technically skilled professionals with an engineering background. They are enlisted as group ‘A’ gazetted officers. 

Btech graduates from four core branches, namely civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and electronics and communications engineering are qualified to apply for Indian Engineering Services. If selected, the candidates will join the service as IES officers and take up technical or managerial roles.

What is Indian Administrative Service?

Indian Administrative service is one of the three wings of All India Services. It is considered to be the most reputed civil service profession. It consists of a body of civil servants who form the administrative arm of the Executive of the Government of India. 

This wing serves the Central government and individual State Governments. IAS officers are also deployed to various public service undertakings according to the requirements. These groups of services come under the permanent bureaucracy of the nation according to Westminister parliamentary system. The members of the body are expected to be politically neutral and are assigned the duty to guarantee administrative continuity to the ruling front.

What do IES officers do?

IES officers are involved in tasks that have something to do with technology directly or indirectly. The work depends on the branch they are deployed to. Many governmental bodies under Indian governments use their services. 

These bodies include Indian Railways, Central Engineering Services (CES), Central public work department, Border Road Engineering Services (BRES), Indian Defense Service of Engineers, Survey of India, Military Engineering Services (MES) Central Water Engineering, Indian Skill Development Service, P&T Building works service, Geological Survey of India (GSI), Indian Naval Armament Service (INAS), Central Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Service, Defence Aeronautical Quality Assurance Service, Indian Radio Regulatory Service, Indian Telecommunication Service, etc. They either directly take charge of the technical projects in these bodies or take up administrative roles for technological projects.

What do IAS officers do?

They handle the executive functions of the Government of India. 

Let me make it a bit more clear.

IAS officers serve the government in its policy framing and administration. They execute policies on behalf of the government and monitors the execution of government projects. These responsibilities include the collection of revenue and act as courts in case of revenue-related issues, hold power over law and order, function as executive magistrates if needed, etc. 

Some are deputed as Chief Development Officers of District development commissioners and are expected to supervise the implementation of government policies. During their field posting, they serve as SDO, Joint Collector, Chief Development Officer (CDO), District Magistrate, District Collector, Deputy Commissioner, Divisional Commissioner, Chairman or Member of Revenue Board, etc. 

Apart from this, they may also receive postings in autonomous organizations such as subordinate organizations, PSUs, UN Organizations and other international organizations like World Bank, Asian Development Banks, etc under various roles. They may also serve the legislature as personal secretaries to central government ministers. There is also a provision for appointment of IAS officers in private organizations.

IES vs IAS: How to get in?

Eligibility criteria for IES officer posts

The basic qualification to apply for IES officer posts is to have an engineering graduate degree in the fields I mentioned earlier. Btech/BE graduates or students who are in their final year of BTech/BE can apply for these posts. For certain posts, postgraduates from the Science stream who had papers in subjects such as Wireless Communication, Electronics, Radio Physics, Radio Engineering can also apply. Other than this, candidates should also satisfy the age requirements for different categories. 

Recruitment process for Indian Engineering service

Eligible candidates can apply for the IES recruitment process. The process consists of two stages. Stage one includes written tests. It consists of two sections. A section with objective type questions that covers general studies topics. The second section is a conventional essay-type paper. This section will test your knowledge level in a particular field of engineering. If qualified, you will be called for a personal interview. Based on the merit list, candidates are selected for different departments that come under Indian Engineering Services.

Eligibility criteria for IAS posts

The minimum educational qualification to become an IAS officer is to have a graduate degree from a recognized university. Other than this, applicants who did correspondence education or a qualification approved by the Government of India are also eligible. Final year students can also apply for the examination. And of course, you must be a citizen of India. You also need to satisfy the age requirements. For the General category, your age should be between 21 and 32. 

Recruitment process for Indian Administrative service

To qualify for Indian Administrative services, you need to clear the civil service exam (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The Civil service examination is conducted for recruitment to 25 services that come under Civil Services. This includes All India Services (IFS, IPS, and IAS), Central services and group B services. The exam has three parts. First one is the preliminary exam, then the main exam and finally personal interview. 

The preliminary exam is popularly known as Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT). It consists of two objective papers. General studies 1 and General studies 11. Paper two is taken as a qualifying exam while the score obtained in paper one is considered for merit. 

The second stage consists of the main exam and the personal interview. While submitting the application form for mains, you will have the option to choose the service you wish to get preference for. If you’re going for IAS, you should choose IAS as the first preference. The main exam consists of 9 conventional subjective type papers. Two among them are qualifying exams while scores of the other 7 papers are considered for preparing the merit list. You will be selected for IAS if qualify through merit.

IES VS IAS: Competition

IES or IES, it’s no bed of roses. You will face tough competition from all sides.

As I already said, IAS is the most competitive civil service post. Around 9 lakhs candidates apply for civil service examinations every year. More than 4 lakh candidates attend the prelims. And only a few thousand get into Indian bureaucracy.  You have got the numbers. Now, you know the probability of getting into civil service. And, IAS is the most sought after service in the list of 25 services. So, imagine how competitive it would be to get into the Indian Administrative service. You should be the one from thousands. People spend years preparing for civil service examinations.

That doesn’t make IES exams any easier. It’s true that the positions are exclusive for engineers. But do you know the number of engineers our country produces every year? More than one million engineers come out of Indian engineering colleges every year. So, that gives you a picture. IES is considered to be one of India’s toughest exams considering the technical nature of exams and the rate of acceptance. Around 2.5 lakhs candidates attempt IES exams every year and only a few hundreds among them get selected. According to the data from 2018, the selection rate through IES exam is 0.0005. 

IES vs IAS: Power and recognition

Who is more popular? An IAS officer or an IES officer. I think everyone knows the answer and that ends the debate.

An IAS officer holds more command over society and receives more recognition. As they are into general administration, they are closer to people and sometimes even hold control over law enforcement and judicial proceedings. They also support the legislature in ensuring the proper functioning of governmental systems.  

To make it simple, an IAS officer gets to be in the center of the action and holds the system in check. On reaching higher positions like Cabinet secretary, an IAS officer will have the ability to influence political decisions as well. 

Some might argue that not all IAS officers work as Collectors or Secretaries. Yes, that’s true. Some IAS officers are given managerial roles in public service undertakings. But even then, that’s not a permanent role. As the Indian Administrative services deal with general administration, you will get to be in charge of almost every major administrative role at least once in their career. 

Even an IES officer gets to move around between different cadres. But unlike an IAS officer, he or she will be working with projects that have something to do with technology. So, outside the organization the IES officer is working, he or she won’t hold much power. Being a public figure or holding diplomatic power relations in society is not their cup of tea. Outside your job, you will be like any other normal citizen of the country.

IES vs IAS: Outside interference.

 IAS officers hold general administrative power. Sounds good! But there is always another side to every story. With more power comes more responsibility and then the people above you. With all the power they have, they are answerable to legislature. So, political interference!!! Do you think someone can get away from that in our country?

But it’s slightly better for Indian Engineering Service. That doesn’t mean you’re not answerable to the legislature. But you mostly deal with technology and there is less scope of political interference there. So, let’s stay far from the ‘Great Indian Circus.’

IES salary vs IAS salary

Both IES officers and IAS officers are class A gazetted officers. So, their pay scale and additional benefits are more or less the same. When they join the service, they get a salary of around Rs 60000 per month. They will also receive other additional benefits such as housing and travel facilities. So, when it comes to payscale and other benefits, both Indian Engineering Services and Indian Administrative services are almost the same.

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For those who are looking for a highly reputed and secure career path, Indian Engineering Services, and Indian Administrative Services are both good choices. IES officers get to be around technology while IAS officers deal with general administration. The choice depends on an individual’s potential and career goals. Always remember that you make your own destiny. Make sure that you invest time and thought before making your life-changing decisions. I hope the illustrated analysis have powered up your insights and have widened your perspectives. 

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We hope this article helped you become familiar with IAS and IES. You can reach out and have a free chat with our experts at Hikewise for personalised support and advice on how to build a successful career ahead.

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