Can an Engineer become an IAS Officer? – Recommended Strategy, Study Tips & Advantags

The answer is – YES! Anyone who has an interest and some basic qualifications and skills are eligible to appear for an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Post. But saying you can become an IAS Officer just because you have an engineering degree won’t be fair. To clear the Civil Services Exam, one has to be very dedicated and passionate about the exam. Candidates need to prepare a strategy accordingly after going through the syllabus and pattern of the question paper.

If you have an engineering background, you need to create a strategy that will help you in your UPSC Civil Services Exam, such as:

  • Selecting the subjects from your stream if you have an option
  • Picking your post you are applying for

Considering the recent trends in the Civil Services IAS Exam where aspirants gain immense success with the technical background at a very young age, it’s advisable to start with the IAS preparation immediately after your graduation, especially if you are in an engineering college or taking up an engineering degree.

There are many instances wherein many aspirants, who are already working, have successfully cleared the IAS examination. It is a complicated task, but yes, it is possible to achieve. We do agree that ‘the road to success will always be under construction’, at the same time it is appropriate to remember that ‘the difficult roads can or may take us to beautiful destinations’.

The main advantage of the working people is that they have already started earning (which allows them to take the risk), which provides them some sort of support in preparing for the Civil Services IAS Exams.

When you are working, you do not have much time to cater to, and you only need to plan meticulously. It would help if you only travel (to and fro) two hours each day plus your work of nine hours because then you will be left with thirteen hours (in a day). Considering seven hours for sound sleep and one hour for the other allowances, you will be left with only FIVE precious hours to study. Since you are left with 13 months, at the outset, it doesn’t appear easy. However, if taken seriously, it is still possible to make it your destination.

This “Divine time”, if utilized efficiently in a planned way, can undoubtedly bring in miracles.

Recommended Strategy

  1. Start liking and understanding the subjects you have opted for, then you will have a self-driven interest in the questions- which makes you prepare systematically.
  2. Try to prepare the analytical subject followed by a descriptive topic/subject. You can also make notes, marking/highlighting the critical portion of the reading material.
  3. Understand basic and standard concepts and/or topics.
  4. Never mix-up the analytical subject and descriptive subject (you cannot learn unless your mind is very concentrated). But you can mix-up easy issues/topics when you are tired with a tough topic/subject.
  5. Every one hour, you need to keep changing the subject as per the second and third points (when you are reading something dull, difficult or boring, keeping your attention focused for one hour is also a difficult challenge).
  6. Before you even start the next subject/topic, relax for just a few minutes. This will help in enhancing your understanding and capacity to absorb more concepts.
  7. Have five years’ worth of question papers and solve them continuously.
  8. Then, compare your answers or options with the right one in the solution key (and keep observing your improvements or in case of any shortfalls).
  9. You should never get your mind distracted, despite so many diversions.
  10. You must keep some exciting things to change your mood and calm your mind down. You can use the break time to watch songs and news on TV (to break the monotony).
  11. You can take the help of light melodious background music (if need be).
  12. Do not waste time in unnecessary chatting.

Be meticulous in all the above steps and success, most likely, will come to your doorstep. Many engineers and doctors who have become IAS officers would tell you that their knowledge immensely helped them in successfully carrying out their duties which included developmental work in their allocated regions.

In fact, in a developed country like Canada, applied mathematics is a compulsory paper for their governmental administrative services. And, the argument about brain drain also seems weak since every year, many engineers and doctors go out of India.

Study Tips for Engineers Taking the IAS

  • Have in-depth knowledge about the IAS Exam
  • Get tips from the toppers
  • Target the fundamentals – After knowing few necessary frameworks of the exam and its pattern, target the basic concepts and subjects first. As all the civil engineers who might be reading this article must be knowing that laying a strong foundation is a very crucial part while designing a building or creating a big project.
  • It is also advisable to kick start your preparation with the NCERTS books, especially social sciences from class 6 to class 12 (if you were terrible at SST in school) and from grade 9 to 12 (if you have a fair idea of subjects).
  • Always read the newspaper
  • Master your optional subject
  • Start answering the previous years’ question papers

Advantages of an Engineer in the UPSC Civil Services Exam Preparations

  • Studying Engineering takes a lot of patience, hard work and practice. You have completed a vast and diverse engineering syllabus in a limited period. This already gives you an advantage or upper hand in the UPSC CSE preparations. Also, engineers are very good at multitasking which is essential in UPSC Civil Services IAS Exam preparations.
  • The Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT) is the qualifying paper of the UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exams. The CSAT paper is set at metric to the 12th standard level. So, for engineers who have learned advanced mathematics from their first semester, this paper is relatively easy. Only the essential UPSC CSE strategized preparation is enough to clear the Civil Services Exam.
  • The general studies papers also include general science which has fundamental physics and chemistry questions. These, once again, are relatively very simple for all engineers.
  • Over the four years of studies, an engineer will already have developed an excellent time-efficient writing skill which is very crucial for UPSC Civil Services IAS Mains Exams. By choosing a good IAS optional, you can ensure your success in the Civil Servicse IAS Mains. And with the right guidance and planning, you can clear the IAS Exam.


Studying engineering takes a lot of patience, hard work and practice and a lot of students and engineering professionals often wonder if they can still get a chance to be in the Civil Services field. If you’re one of those who are still undecided, keep in mind that it is an added advantage that you have already completed a vast and diverse engineering syllabus. This will help immensely in your preparation for the UPSC Civil Services Exams.

Areas covered in this topic

  • Some study tips for Engineers who want to tackle the IAS exams.
  • Advantages of holding an Engineering degree in taking the IAS exams.

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