Government jobs: Important exams, job categories and preparation tips


Government jobs are available in sectors like civil services, railways, postal services, defence, banking and teaching

It is important to know the exam pattern with the help of the exam syllabus and previous years’ question papers

Government exams remain the most coveted jobs in India, mainly due to the assurance of job security and other related privileges associated with them. Many of these jobs in the public sector are also critical for the state of governance in India, including proper distribution and utilisation of public services, security services and administrative services. If you want a job in the public sector, there are a few things you should keep in mind before taking the plunge.

Types of jobs available in the public sector

The most popular government jobs are available in civil services, railways, postal services, defence, banking and teaching at different research centres. Many of these jobs demand specialisations in respective fields, while some others require you to have certain educational degrees.

Recruitment in the public sector is mostly done through different public exams conducted by central- and state-level government agencies.

Important exams for government jobs:

Central services and state services exams

Civil services in India are organised both at the union level and the state level. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the main exam-conducting body for Central services, while various state service commissions manage the recruitment for state-level services.

UPSC conducts exams like UPSC CSE (Civil Services Exam), NDA/NA (National Defence Academy/Naval Academy), CDS (Combined Defence Services), Assistant Commandant CRPF, Combined geo-Scientists and Indian Economic Services (IES).

Among these exams, UPSC CSE is the most popular and commonly referred to as the IAS exam. It is considered to be one of the toughest exams in the country and is conducted for the recruitment of cadres in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS), Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS), Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS), Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS) and the Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES).

Defence exams

NDA and CDS are the popular exams for officer-rank posts in Indian Defence. The NDA/NA exam can be taken up by the candidates after they clear their Class XII board exams, while you can appear for CDS after graduation. These two exams, along with AFCAT (Air Force Common Aptitude Test), select candidates for the defence sector.

State PSC exams

Like UPSC, which conducts exams for recruitment of candidates in Central government services, state public service commissions (PSC) are responsible for recruiting people in state government services. Most of the officers selected by state PSCs act under the officers recruited through UPSC.

Staff Selection Commission exams

Staff Selection Commission (SSC) is the exam-conducting body responsible for recruitment of staff in various ministries and departments of the Central government. SSC conducts exams like CGL (Combined Graduate level), CHSL (Combined Higher Secondary Level), Junior Engineer, Junior Hindi Translator, SSC GD Constable, SSC Multitasking Staff and SI (Central Police Organization) exams.

Banking exams

Banking exams are popular among candidates who want to work in a bank. There are a number of banking exams like SBI SO Exam, SBI Clerk Exam, IBPS PO Exam (CWE PO/MT), IBPS SO Exam (CWE SO), IBPS Clerk Exam (CWE Clerical), IBPS RRB Exam (CWE RRB), Reserve Bank of India (RBI Exams), RBI Officer Grade B Exam, RBI Assistant Exam, India Post Payments Bank (IPPB), NABARD Exam and Indian Institute of Banking & Finance Exams (IIBF Exams).

Teaching exams

Teaching in government colleges is yet another lucrative job. Candidates looking for this career option need to pursue a master’s degree in the subject of their choice and crack the National Eligibility Test (NET) to be eligible for the exam for the recruitment of assistant professors.

To become a teacher in government schools (and also in private schools), you need a Bachelor of Education degree. If you want a job in a government school as a teacher, you will have to sit for the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) exam.

Railways exams

The Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) conducts exams for various posts under railways. The popular exams conducted by RRB include Non-Technical Popular Categories (NTPC), Junior Engineer (JE) Exam, Assistant Loco Pilot (ALP) Exam, Group D Exam/RRC Level.

How to prepare for exams for government jobs

Public exams for government jobs are highly competitive due to a low number of vacancies and millions of candidates appearing for the tests. That;’s why it is important to start preparing for the exam as early as possible. However, you need to know the exam pattern with the help of the exam syllabus and previous years’ question papers.

It is important to remember that most of the exams have incorporated general awareness and logical reasoning questions in the syllabus. You need to take stock of everyday events of national and international importance. Continuous practice of reasoning and quantitative aptitude questions will be helpful for you to become exam-ready at all times.

Shabbir A Bashir is co-founder of Edukemy, an online platform that helps students with preparing for competitive government exams.

Last updated on 15 May 2022