Until a decade ago Indian Engineering Services (IES) was regarded as a top notch career prospect as far engineering disciplines were concerned.

It was considered to be the premier examination for the engineers and was deemed only next to the civil services. It is not that the services or the examination has lost its sheen, but it has definitely lost its popularity, thanks to the IT boom.

“The examination that is conducted for recruitment into the IES is no doubt a difficult one. But at the same it ‘was' and it ‘will' be the most prestigious one for the engineers. It was once the ‘dream' of every engineer to join the government sector and IES was the entry point. But with the growth of the IT sector- that ‘dream' has taken a backseat.

The chances of getting a job in the IT sector is very easy compared to the IES,” says the Principal of GMRIT, C.L.V.R.S.V. Prasad.

The IES was initiated to fill the technical and managerial functions of Government of India. A combined competitive examination is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) every year for recruitment into the IES. The test is normally conducted in May or June, across the country in over 40 centres.

Basically, the recruitment is open to candidates from the core disciplines such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and electronics and telecommunication engineering.

Depending on the discipline, the examination is categorised, and the openings are generally in government and public sector. The recruited candidate could be posted in departments such as Indian Railway Service of Engineers, Indian Railway Stores Service, Indian Defence Service of Engineers, Indian Ordinance Factories Services, Central Water Engineering and Central Power Engineering Service.

At the time of recruitment one is generally designated as assistant engineer and over a period of time could rise to the post of superintending engineer or chief engineer or for that matter even to the post of engineer-in-chief.

“The examination pattern and content is both conventional and subjective and spans over a period of three to five days. The candidates do have the option of choosing their subject or paper based on their discipline and the examination is exhaustive.

The examination challenges or tests the knowledge of the students in their core areas,” says the Principal of GMRIT.

Talking of government's role, Dr. C.L.V.R.S.V. Prasad says that the authorities should not scale down on the quality of the examination but at the same time should conduct some sensitisation programme to motivate more number of students to join the IES fold.

“It is also the responsibility of the colleges to promote this examination and IES as a career among the students. Colleges should take a cue from IIT-Delhi, as they do it very aggressively. And that is the reason why both civil services and IES have a large contingent from IIT-Delhi.”