The candidates aspiring for the UPSC Examination get confused before selecting the stream of exams from IRS, IFS, IES, IPS, and IAS. This article will be discussed about prospects of being an IES officer or IAS officer for an engineer. IES exam is a specialized form of exam for selecting the filtered candidates with knowledge of engineering as an added feature. This article shows the right path for engineer aspirants.

Before going deep into this topic, let’s check out the syllabus for IES exam and the IAS exam.

Syllabus for IES Exam

IES exam syllabus for stage-I-paper-I

  1. Current issues of national and international importance relating to social, economic, and industrial development.

  2. Engineering Aptitude covering Logical reasoning and Analytical ability.

  3. Engineering Mathematics and Numerical Analysis.

  4. General Principles of Design, Drawing, Importance of Safety.

  5. Standards and Quality practices in production, construction, maintenance, and services.

  6. Basics of Energy and Environment: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation,

  7. Climate Change, Environmental impact assessment.

  8. Basics of Project Management.

  9. Basics of Material Science and Engineering.

  10. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) based tools and their applications in Engineering such as networking, e-governance, and technology-based education.

  11. Ethics and values in the Engineering profession.

Syllabus for IAS Exam

IAS Syllabus for Paper I – (200 marks)  

Current events of national and international importance.
Duration: Two hours History of India and Indian national movement.
(Counted for the merit rank in the Prelims) Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
Economic and Social Development Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc.
General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.
General Science.
UPSC Syllabus 2020 for Paper-II- (200 marks)   Comprehension.
Duration: Two hours Interpersonal skills including communication skills.
(Not counted for the merit rank in Prelims but a qualifying Paper; just needs 33% marks) Logical reasoning and analytical ability.
Decision-making and problem-solving.
General mental ability.
Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.) (Class X level), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency etc. – Class X level).

To know more about the IAS exam syllabus you can check this out.

Role of an IES Officer

IES officers cover technical aspects related to government duties concerned with manufacturing details, construction, building, power, telecommunication, public works and so on. IES officers might have to look after on-field business of workers if needed extra supervision or information to be collected for submission to the government. IES aspirants must be well-equipped with the knowledge of engineering. IES officers must know about managing engineering-related kinds of stuff along with administering.

Role of an IAS Officer

IAS officers need to be organized and administrative at work. An IAS needs to be diligently active in almost every administrative aspect. It might be related to the state and centre both. IAS gets posted in allocation with the respective cadre. IAS has to be versatile in work as a field of work might change in some years as one gets reposted to new areas of administration.

Also Read: IAS Officers Administrative Functions and Responsibilities

Eligibility for IES Exam and IAS Exam

The eligibility criteria for both exams (IES and IAS) are different. IES has some special engineering-related papers in the Mains exam. IAS syllabus and IES syllabus only resemble in the Prelims Exam syllabus. Other eligibility criteria are almost the same for aspirants. For IES it is necessary to be an engineering graduate. So an engineering graduate can choose both paths: IAS and IES.

An Engineer being an IES

When an engineer turns into an IES officer, he or she gets more power to observe, control and administer the areas. The concentration of subject knowledge is an added power for engineering-related administrating issues. IES is such a designation where an engineer can implement and apply his or her knowledge. An IES can flourish the knowledge concerned with engineering to the utmost level while administering other issues at the same time for providing appropriate service to the government.

Salaries of IES Officers

Post/ Level Pay Scale (Per Month) Grade
Junior Level ₹ 15,600 – Rs. 39,100 ₹  5400
Senior Level ₹ 15,600 – Rs. 39,100 ₹ 6600
Junior Administrative Grade ₹ 15,600 – Rs. 39,100 ₹ 7600
Selection Grade Scale (Chief Engineer L2/ J. GM) ₹ 37400 – Rs. 67000 ₹ 8700
Super timegrade (Chief Engr. /Additional GM) ₹ 37400 – Rs. 67000 ₹ 8700
Cabinet Secretary Grade ₹ 90,000
Apex Pay Scale ₹ 80,000

Also Read: IES Officer Salary in India: How Much does an IES Officer Earn per Month?

Salaries of IAS Officers

Basic Pay(INR) Number of years required in service Post District Administration
10 56100 1-4 Sub-Divisional Magistrate
11 67,700 5-8 Additional District Magistrate
12 78,800 9-12 District Magistrate
13 1,18,500 13-16 District Magistrate
14 1,44,200 16-24 Divisional Commissioner
15 1,82,200 25-30 Divisional Commissioner
16 2,05,400 30-33 No Equivalent Rank
17 2,25,000 34-36 No Equivalent Rank
18 2,50,000 37+ years No Equivalent Rank

An Engineer being an IAS

If an engineering graduate opts for an IAS cadre option, the aspirant will have to study more about those seven papers of the mains exam. The selection of optional paper might be tricky for the candidate. The would-be IAS might have to study more than other aspirants who are coming from other disciplines as subjects are new for an engineering graduate. So, it is not impossible to be an IAS being an engineering graduate, but it is will be a vast preparation for the candidate.

IES Officer & IAS Officer – Nature of service

An IES deals with technical and engineering-related fields only. But an IAS deals with administrative work related to state and central. An IAS might have to be more versatile in respect of work culture rather than an IES.


As an IES a candidate may dream to work in defence areas also. The Indian Ordnance Factory Service, Indian Naval Armament Service, Military Engineer Services, the Indian Naval Stores Service, Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Indian Army and the Indian Naval Stores Service are those areas of service where an IES can work along with administering mechanical and technical aspects. It depends on the candidate’s aspiration to carry the dream to be an IES or an IAS. But it is always suggested to follow a subject-oriented path. So, for engineers, it should be IES.

Also Read: UPSC Exam after Engineering: Is Preparing for IAS Exam after B.E a Good Choice?

Content Protection by
IES Officer vs IAS Officer: Which Rank should an Engineer Aim for?
Article Name
IES Officer vs IAS Officer: Which Rank should an Engineer Aim for?
IES Officer or IAS Officer? Which should be aimed by an engineer? What is the syllabus for IES exam and IAS exam? Click here to know it all in detail.
Publisher Name
UPSC Pathshala
Publisher Logo

About the Author


Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

View All Articles