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Life after IAS Exam Preparation

Dec 15, 2016 17:50 IST
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Life after IAS Exam Preparation

While it may be the most depressing thought for IAS aspirant, it is very important to have a well-organized backup plan in case your aspiration of cracking the coveted exam doesn’t work out. Statistically speaking, clearing the UPSC civil services examination in

Life after IASgeneral, and selection for IAS in particular is highly unlikely for aspirants. Because of the alarmingly low success probability (generally 0.2%), the IAS exam is listed among the toughest recruitment tests in the world. Of the nearly 3 lakh candidates appearing every year, only top 700/800 make it through the final selection and that also not necessarily as per their service preference. Despite such high odds of success, every year thousands of new aspirants join the race to crack the much-coveted examination.

As many will tell you, IAS Preparation is not a process it is a way of life. After you have either exhausted the number of attempts available or lost the will to compete further, you are left scrambling to piece together a life and career. In such circumstances, many dejected candidates are left to face failure with nothing to fall back upon. While staying positive and confident about your ability to crack the exam holds the key to success, it doesn’t hurt to have an alternative career plan, in case things don’t pan out as per your liking. Below, we shall discuss other career opportunities that IAS aspirants can take up after completing the preparation phase for the coveted exam.

Other Central Government Recruitment Exams

If the main reason for you picking IAS as a career option was to serve your country, then all is not lost for you. Apart from the civil services examination, the central government also conducts a host of other recruitment examinations to hire candidates for mid-level positions within the Indian bureaucracy. These include Indian Forest Service (IFoS), Indian Engineering Service (IES), Assistant Central Intelligence Officer (ACIO) and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). While these remain top choices preferred by IAS aspirants as backup career options, there are many others that are available apart from these four. One of the key advantages of opting for other central government recruitment examinations as an alternative career choice is that the intense preparation and knowledge base will help you crack them quite easily. This along with low competition ratio and higher chances of success makes them a great career option for aspirants after IAS.

Staff Selection Commission Jobs

While this technically falls within the purview of the first point, we choose to list it separately because of its popularity. The Staff Selection Commission is a government run agency in-charge of recruiting staff for different governmental departments. SSC conducts the exam based recruitment process for Group B posts and all non-technical Group C posts in various ministries/departments of the Government of India. The agency conducts SSC CGL (Combined Graduate Level) Examination to recruit candidates for different desk and field jobs offered by the central government.

1. SSC CGL Desk Jobs: Ministry Assistants, Auditors, Tax Assistants, Accountants and Upper Division Clerks

2. SSC CGL Field Jobs: Tax Inspectors, Examiners, Preventive Officers, Assistant Enforcement Officers, CBI Inspectors, NIA Inspectors, Narcotics Inspector/Sub-inspector

All the jobs offered by the SSC are for junior to middle-level posts in administrative functions of different government departments and ministries. Many IAS aspirants prefer to take up SSC Desk Jobs to supplement their finances while continuing to prepare for civil services exam.

State level Public Service Commission Jobs

In addition to the UPSC, candidates aspiring to join the governmental machinery to make a difference can also look at state level public service commission jobs. While not at par with IAS or other civil services profile, the state PCS proves to be a great alternative for candidates in terms of low competition (mainly due to domicile restrictions) and easy to crack exams. In addition to this, the exam format and even the syllabus more or less remains the same for the civil services exams and state PCS exams. This makes it an ideal alternative for candidates, who are looking to build a respectable career in government sector after IAS. After clearing state PCS exams, candidates can look forward to being appointed at mid to senior level position within the state government’s administrative machinery.


The banking sector is ideal for candidates, who have either exhausted all the aforementioned options or are no longer interested in joining the mainstream government bureaucracy. Public Sector Banks regularly announce clerical as well as probationary officer level vacancies, for which open recruitment is done through a competitive examination. While still highly competitive in nature, the recruitment exams for Bank Jobs are concentrated on finance, economy, accountancy and general awareness sections along with logical reasoning, numerical ability and reasoning. As an IAS aspirant, you would already be aware of these and would have done extensive training to tackle questions from these sections. Therefore, Banking Jobs are also a viable career choice for candidates after quitting on their IAS dreams.


For candidates, who have a deep interest in teaching and helping others understand complex concepts with ease; teaching can be a great alternative career option. If you possess necessary educational qualifications to take up TET / NET and have great grades in your graduation, you would be able to take up teaching as a formal profession in schools or colleges. However, for candidates with an aptitude for teaching, there is another option of teaching in IAS coaching institutes and helping other aspirants realize their dreams of becoming an IAS officer. During your IAS preparation phase, you would already have studied several subjects in detail to add to this the experience of attempting IAS exams multiple times would give you the added advantage when it comes to guiding others towards success. While it may seem like an anticlimax, teaching at an IAS coaching centre could prove to be a very financially rewarding for candidates.

The list given above is very limited and only includes top 5 options preferred by IAS aspirants as alternative career options. But, if we expand the scope there are several career options that are open including business, MBA, private sector jobs and many more; which candidates can opt for after their IAS preparation.

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