Despite bagging lucrative placement offers, engineers are inclined towards joining the administrative services. While some begin their preparation right after graduation, many quit their corporate careers to invest their efforts in cracking the examination.
As per the data available on the DoPT website, the number of engineers qualifying the UPSC Civil Service examination has increased in the last 10 years. In 2019, the number might have been much higher than 27 as many officers with an engineering degree are put under the ‘graduate’ category by the DoPT.
Realising this fact that engineering students have a great success rate in qualifying for the civil services exam, the IIT Varanasi director said that with access to better opportunities and an increase in consciousness to serve society, the difference between civil services and a corporate career has almost disappeared. Individuals from both sides of the job profile want to emphasise the need to build stronger communities. Eventually, civil services give direct access to do so.
Engineering colleges grind their students in every nook and corner. The civil service provides a good, stable career option for these youngsters. The introduction of the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) in the UPSC Prelims exam has also led to a surge in the number of successful engineer candidates in the IAS exam.
The CSAT was introduced in 2011 and there was a repercussion from many IAS aspirants mentioning the new pattern to be advantageous to candidates with a technical degree. In response to the strong reaction, the commission made the CSAT qualify for eligibility for the main exam.
Each year, the difficulty level of CSAT papers has eventually increased. This usually costs a chance for many non-engineering students whereas science students ought to perform better here.
The CSAT includes questions on mathematical ability, analytical ability, reasoning, English comprehension, etc. Engineers, with their science backgrounds, generally find the CSAT easy as compared to humanities graduates.
IFS Ankit Kumar, a 2019 batch officer, believes that the introduction of the CSAT exam has played a favourable role for engineering students appearing for this examination.
Another reason that the number of engineering graduates is on the rise is the sheer large number of engineers in the country. A lack of suitable employment opportunities causes a natural drift among youngsters towards other professions, including the civil service.
Also, there are many people in the country who set their sights on civil services but get an engineering degree for safety purposes. Due to the unpredictable nature of the IAS exam, people prefer to have a backup plan in case their IAS dream is not fulfilled.
Additionally, engineering graduates, more often than not, have previous experience in writing competitive examinations. Many of them would have gone through the rigours of taking exams like the IIT-JEE, BITSAT, etc. All this is a valuable experience, even if the content of the exams is different from the civil service.
Experts believe that engineers gain analytical skills while preparing for the engineering entrance examinations as a result of undergoing four-year engineering studies.
Experts also believe that in India, the students of the humanities and commerce stream do not experience a systematic approach as compared to their science counterparts.
The university admissions for these courses are also largely based on high school marks, hence dividing them from facing any source of competition.
Whereas science students follow a systematic approach to prepare themselves for the competition right after completing high school. Hence, they have an edge in facing competitive environments and clearing the examination.