Alternative Career Options For UPSC Aspirants

Alternative Career Options For UPSC Aspirants

The UPSC is one of the most prestigious government exams in our country. It is also one of the toughest to crack. An impressive number of students across the country dream of clearing the UPSC exam in their lifetime. They begin working towards their goal right from a tender age. Since the competition is very high, so are the chances of failing to make it through the exam. So, technically everyone who is going for something big like this should have a backup plan.

This article is an attempt towards listing down the alternative career options for UPSC aspirants in case they falter in their goal. Read on to learn about the various opportunities that aspirants can make use of in case they want to steer the direction of their careers after trying for the UPSC exams.

What Are Alternative Career Options For UPSC Aspirants

We live in a world of cut-throat competition where nothing comes easy. Preparing for UPSC could turn out to be an uphill climb. It calls for utmost dedication, sincerity, focus, and strategic planning. Cracking the UPSC exam is a dream that is shared by many in our country. Hence, the high competition. 

It is always recommended to have a backup plan just to be on the safe side. Since the UPSC syllabus is more or less inclusive of syllabi of other government exams, UPSC aspirants can make a detour to explore other government jobs as well. Here are a few career options that candidates may consider in case they wish to switch to other avenues of service.

Trying Out Other Government Exams

The thirst to serve society and the nation, at large can be quenched by trying for other sectors of government jobs as well. Irrespective of the nature of the job or the post, the attitude of service is what counts. Having had preparation for UPSC, ex-UPSC aspirants can try out other government exams. Some of these are the State PSC exams, SSC CGL, banking exams, TET, etc. All of these provide scope for the betterment of society in their respective ways. So, this is one of the best backup plan to fall onto.

Pursuing Fellowship Programs 

UPSC preparation entails taking gap years that are completely devoted to making the candidate exam ready. To bounce back into the job market quickly, candidates may decide to pursue fellowship programs. These fellowships are internships in a way. They are paid and also academically focused to propel the candidate back into the job market.

Some of the popularly known fellowships include Gandhi Fellowship, Young India Fellowship, Teach for India, Ramanujan Fellowship, and SBI Youth for India Fellowship among many others. These programmes facilitate the procurement of high-paying jobs for candidates in the private sector. One may also pursue research in a foreign university with the aid of a scholarship.

Climbing Up The Corporate Ladder

A variety of fields such as marketing, data analysis, sales and operations, EdTech, real estate, banking and insurance, among others, welcome UPSC aspirants without the hindrance of gap years in their resume. As long as the candidates acquire the skills needed to work in any of these sectors, landing a job is no longer a problem.

Once a candidate is industry-ready, they can steadily climb up the corporate ladder.

Working For A Non-Government Organization

A common attribute among all UPSC aspirants is their zeal for working toward the betterment of our country. Even if their goal remains unfulfilled, there are other ways to give meaning to their purpose. 

Working for any Non-government organization somewhat serves the same purpose as clearing the UPSC exam, which is the service of the nation. As long as this motto is the driving force, the goal is always within achievable limits. One could either run an NGO or be an active participant in one.

Becoming A Teacher

Candidates who have a knack for teaching and are extremely proficient in explaining concepts to others must try their hand at becoming a teacher. One can appear for government teaching exams, take up jobs at coaching institutes, start their own tutoring business, or even use the digital space for educating students.

The teaching profession is a very steady career option and can be seen on the rise these days.

Mentoring Aspirants 

Failing to clear UPSC must not be treated as a dead end. If one looks closely there are plenty of opportunities around. At times, this alternate route may prove to be even more rewarding than the UPSC itself. There are innumerable ways to be in service of society. One way could be to work as a motivational speaker for the UPSC aspirants. The aspirants will be able to relate to the experiences of someone who has already been in their shoes once upon a time. 


The GATE exam can open doors to a bright future for former aspirants. They may give a try to the GATE exam if they are keen to join PSU or pursue M.Tech. 

PSU jobs are for the companies that are under the government. These offer the same benefits as other government jobs like stability promotions and retirement benefits. On clearing the GATE exam, the candidate is eligible for a stipend each month from the government to pursue their or post-graduation in their respective branch of study.

CAT Exam

Candidates with an avid interest in fields such as accounting, marketing, management, etc. can appear for the CAT exam. Through this exam, candidates may avail the opportunity of studying MBA in the top B-schools of the country. Once the course is finished, the candidates can venture into diverse fields of sales and marketing, finance, project manager, account management, and so on.

State Level Government Exams

Appearing for the State level government exams is an alternative career option for UPSC aspirant who do not wish to pursue higher studies. These exams are conducted at the state level. Therefore, the competition is not as high as compared to the civil services examination. Moreover, the syllabus for this exam is somewhat similar to that of the UPSC exam.

Coding And Programming

The field of coding and programming is an excellent choice for candidates with a flair for tech-related things. With the knowledge of coding and programming, one can land jobs in tech giants such as Infosys, Wipro, Tech Mahindra, HCL, etc. 

It is noted that a major portion of UPSC aspirants belongs to engineering backgrounds. Learning these skills would be an easy task for such candidates. Another advantage is that one does not necessarily need to have a tech or engineering background to learn these skills. Companies tend to focus on the skill set rather than the marks, degree, or experience. There are several platforms out there that offer lessons to impart these skills. 


The SSC CGL exam is conducted for the recruitment of the position of staff within the Government of India’s various ministries, departments, and organizations. This exam is very similar to the civil service examination. 

IBPS Exams

This exam is conducted every year for the recruitment of Probationary Officers across 11 Public Sector Banks in our country. The added advantage of preparing for UPSC is that since it has a vast syllabus, it more or less covers the syllabi of other prominent government exams as well, such as the bank PO. UPSC syllabus comes in handy here. Any candidate who wishes to have a career in the government sector may appear in this exam.


A field of service that enjoys equal prestige and respect as that of UPSC is the army and defence forces. Candidates can join the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, or Indian Air Force Academy by appearing in the Combined Defense Services Examination. However, the only limiting aspect is the age factor and marital status. Retirement benefits with a lifetime pension, health insurance, housing facility, etc. are some perks of serving in the army.


Candidates may explore the field of law by aiming to become a lawyer. It is yet another interesting career alternative for UPSC aspirants. It takes 3 years to finish the LLB course after graduation. One can earn an LLB degree and try becoming a judge, lawyer, legal journalist, etc. Even within the ambit of lawyers, one can choose among criminal lawyers, corporate lawyers, government lawyers, patent lawyers, etc. 

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Learn Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is another popular career option that can be taken up by UPSC aspirants. There are numerous paid as well as free digital marketing courses available across many social media platforms. One can land the job of a digital marketing manager, SEO specialist, SEO writer, social media manager, etc.

In addition to this, one can also start a website or business and start creating content to make money. There is a preponderance of in-demand jobs in the field of digital marketing that is high paying at the same time.


Novelty is a gift. Candidates gifted with the aptitude to think of out-of-the-box solutions for ordinary problems can venture into entrepreneurship. This can be achieved with good preparation and execution. Besides, entrepreneurship does not ask for any criteria like age, academic marks, etc. If a candidate has the aptitude needed to survive in this field, they might as well gain an experience in entrepreneurship.

Get A Quick Certification

Short-term certificate courses are on the rise these days. These are available online as well as in offline modes. Candidates can keep up with the most in-demand skills by signing up for certificate courses. These help the candidate shape their skills according to the required job qualifications. These certifications are affordable and may range from weeks to months.

Pursue Higher Studies

The minimum qualification required to appear in the UPSC exam is graduation. If a candidate fails to clear the exam, they may pursue higher studies. The more knowledgeable one becomes, the more opportunities knock on their door. There is a multitude of higher study options to choose from. The candidate may make a decision based on their area of interest.

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There is no doubt about the fact that UPSC aspirants give it their all while preparing for the exam. Only a selected few are rewarded with the sweet fruits of success. Instead of dwelling in the despair of failure, candidates must try to look for the silver lining in the cloud. 

Always remember that Rome was not built in a day and neither is someone’s future decided by the result of competitive exams. If one looks around for opportunities and alternative career options, then- the world is your oyster.

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