IES vs IAS: Difference Between IAS and IES Officer | IAS, IES Full Form

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

IES vs IAS: IES is a very specialized and technical service, whereas IAS is more of a generalist service. They are two of the most coveted government jobs. IES full form is Indian Engineering Services, and IAS stands for Indian Administrative Services. The recruitment for both these posts is done through the examination organized by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

CSE is held to recruit candidates for IAS, IRS, IPS, and IFS positions and other administrative offices. However, UPSC IES or ESE is held to recruit candidates in technical fields. In this article, we have discussed IES vs IAS in detail, along with which is a more suitable field for candidates coming from different academic backgrounds.


IES and IAS are Group A gazette officer posts. However, both posts have vastly different job profiles and responsibilities. IES is technical in nature and requires specialized knowledge, whereas IAS is general in nature and requires non-specialized knowledge.

Candidates with engineering backgrounds can opt for both of these exams. However, IES vs IAS difference is in their scope of work. Hence, knowing the difference between IES and IAS is essential before deciding.

  • IES officers’ powers function in technical areas such as railways, power, telecommunication, construction, etc.
  • IAS officer power is more diverse and can be employed in different portfolios, such as foreign services, police departments, etc.
  • Indian Engineering Service has a limited scope in terms of work compared to civil services. IES and IAS Syllabus also differ greatly.

IAS and IES Full Form

IAS and IES are both prestigious government positions achieved after much hard work. Candidates preparing for the UPSC Exam should know the full form of IES and IAS listed below. These full forms will make the differences between the two posts apparent.

Full Forms of IES and IAS
IES Full Form Indian Engineering Services
IAS Full Form Indian Administrative Services


IES: Indian Engineering Services

IES meaning is Indian Engineering Services. The Engineering Services Examination (ESE) or Indian Engineering Services is an exam conducted by UPSC. It consists of three stages: Prelims, Mains, and an Interview.

  • Engineering Services is similar to the exam for IAS, which is held to recruit candidates for various government technical departments.
  • Candidates who have an education in engineering or a postgraduation degree in specialized fields such as radio engineering, radio physics, wireless communications, etc., are eligible for this exam.

Some of the major responsibilities that an IES officer needs to fulfil are as follows.

  • These IES officers can shift to any organization, institution, service, framework, or PSU of the Government of India.
  • They are allocated to appointment premises or a specified occupancy for a minimum of five years.
  • After this tenure, they are sent to their parent framework, or they can work in the present unit.
  • Variety in the work of IES officers depends on the designing branch and the management or department they are enrolled in.

IAS: Indian Administrative Services

IAS Exam is one of the most sought-after government jobs in the country. Any graduate candidates can apply for this position. The exam is held in three stages by UPSC – Prelims, Mains and the Interview.

Candidates chosen as IAS handle the administration and ensure the maintenance of law and order. They are involved in various tasks such as policy review, staff management, being a bridge between government and the public, and more. IAS officers are allocated several crucial functions in different Government offices. Some of their duties are as follows.

  • They control law and order.
  • IAS officials operate as Chief Development Officials/Executive Magistrates/District Development Commissioners.
  • They participate in planning strategy and dynamics at various levels like Joint Secretary and Deputy Secretary.
  • They deal with everyday exercises of the Government.
  • IAS officers assist in the enactment of guidelines for central and state governments.
  • Collects payments and plays out its commitments as the court in revenue cases.

Difference between IES and IAS

The major difference between IES and IAS is tabulated below. Despite being managed by the same organization and seeming similar, both are very different jobs. Various factors will enable candidates to compare IAS and IES to determine a better option.


Comparison Indian Engineering Services (IES) Indian Administrative Services (IAS)
Nationality Must be an Indian citizen Must be an Indian citizen.
Exam Conducting Body UPSC UPSC
Educational Qualification Engineering Degree from a recognized institution Any Graduation Degree from a recognized institution
Age Limit 21-30 years 21-32 years
Application Fees Rs. 200 (Exempt for female and reserved candidates) Rs. 100 (Exempt for female and reserved candidates)
Selection Process Prelims, Mains & Interview Prelims, Mains & Interview
Prelims Stage Two papers: General Studies & Engineering Aptitude Paper and Engineering Discipline, chosen by the candidates Two papers: GS Paper I and CSAT
Mains Stage Two papers Nine papers
Syllabus Limited to engineering subjects Diverse with different subjects
Nature of the Job Deals less with the public; Technical and specific Deals more with the public;

Diverse and general

Average Preparation Time 7-8 months 10-12 months
Average number of Vacancies 500 1000
Job Profile Technical Administrative
Salary Rs. 56,100 at the probation Rs. 55,135 at the probation

Similarity Between IES Officers and IAS Officers

There are not many similarities between IES vs IAS regarding their work. However, on closer look, few similarities can be found. IES and IAS are both gazette officer posts of Group A. They are highly respected jobs that one gets qualified for after cracking competitive exams.

The grade pay for IES and IAS officers is the same, which is Rs. 5400. IAS and IES officers are employed by the Government of India and work for its departments. They both are responsible for their respective departments and have great power within them.

IES vs IAS Syllabus

IAS and IES syllabi are very different. From the exam pattern to the syllabus, both exams are widely different in their scopes and the kind of questions that are asked. The IAS Syllabus is vast and has 9 papers in the UPSC Mains exam.

At the Prelims stage as well, the syllabus for IAS covers various topics and is not limited to only one subject. On the other hand, the IES syllabus is relatively more confined in its scope. It is mostly technical, and questions are asked per the candidate’s chosen engineering discipline.

At both the Prelims and Mains levels, there are two papers each. The total marks for both IAS and IES exams are also different:

  • IES total marks are 1300 (Prelims – 500, Mains – 600, and Interview – 200);
  • IAS total marks are 2075 (Prelims – 400, Mains – 1750, and Interview – 275).

IES vs IAS Salary

IES and IAS Salary are similar. The grade pay for both is Rs. 5400. However, the in-hand salary of both IAS and IES officers differ slightly. At the time of probation, the IES officer’s salary is Rs. 56,100, whereas the IAS salary is Rs. 55,135.

  • IAS and IES officers receive various other perks and benefits apart from their salary, such as DA, TA, HRA, etc.
  • IAS vs IES officers’ salary is very lucrative. As their rank improves, there is also an increase in their salary.
  • IAS has more ranks than IES. Hence, they have more earning potential as well.

IES vs IAS Power

IAS and IES officer powers vary as their scope of work and job profiles differ. The IAS and IES salary are both similar. However, IAS is a relatively more respected and famous job option out of the two.

  • As the IAS work domain is more diverse, they are better connected.
  • It is a high-profile job as an IAS can also achieve the Cabinet Secretary position.
  • ESE, in comparison, is a low-profile job that does not involve much networking.
  • Their work does not entail much political interaction or interference.
  • IES officers have relatively more independence in how they want to work and handle their departments.
  • However, that does not mean IES officers cannot achieve high ranks.
  • They are often chosen as the recipient of civilian awards of the highest order.
  • IES and IAS have different powers as they work in different domains.

IES vs IAS – Which is Better?

Engineering candidates must wonder which is the better option for them – IAS or IES? The answer depends on what you are like and how you refer to work. IAS is political, and the tasks are mostly administrative, whereas ESE or IES is more technical in nature.

  • It should be noted that opting for ESE/ IES enables you to work in both civil and defence domains;
  • Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Military Engineer Services, and Indian Naval Armament Service are some examples;
  • ESE/IES is brilliant for candidates who only want to work in engineering;
  • However, if you do not want to choose or want to have the option to diversify, you can opt for both exams as well;
  • Engineering is one of the UPSC optional subjects, making preparation easier;
  • However, these subjects only include civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. Hence, candidates from other branches will have to choose carefully.
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