Oshin Sapra, a student of the very prestigious IIT, Roorkee, shares her views,
“As an engineer from one of the top notch institutions in the country, I’m ‘supposed’ to be very proud of my profession-to-be, but it’s ironic how only a few days ago, when my father brought up marriage I said, “Dad mere liye to aap please ek fauji dhoond lena!
And why not, Defense academies are producing smart, cultured gentlemen who wish to serve their country and take pride in dying for it someday while all engineering, in this country, does is to program your brain to mint money. So, if there is a choice between a Gentleman and a Robot, I think I’ll know what to choose.” She adds further.There is often a tussle in the mind of students which is better career option life as a cadet in NDA or studies in IIT ? Well, it seems a rather difficult choice as both, Army and Engineering despite being two very different fields, seem very promising. Another similarity between the Army Institutes and Prime Engineering colleges is that only the extremely hard-working and aspiring students can think of a fetching career option in either of the institutes. An average student would never have to face this confusion. For the ones sailing in this boat let us provide you a career guidance for aspirants of NDA and IIT both to help you choose only the best career for you.
SSB and IIT Entrance are considered to be the toughest exams in the country. The percentage of candidates selected for both fields is quite low. The syllabus for a Defence Academy is very vast, but in IIT the syllabus is very complex. For Army , the four day long SSB interview can prove to be nerve-wrecking for thehearted defense aspirant. Around fifteen lac students sit for IIT-JEE entrance exams and around nine thousands are selected for various IITs around the country. While colleges like IIT Kharagpur, Kanpur, Delhi and Mumbai are allotted to top rankers
Training in both the cases is also extremely laborious. While the Academy trains you physically and mentally, not just the muscle but the mind too that goes to war, in IIT, the students stay neck deep in their books and projects which aim to develop analytical and logical minds and also emphasize on researching skills to turn young engineering students into future brilliant engineers of various streams which would develop codes,build bridges or even research things beneficial to mankind. Many IIt students also opt for MBA after the graduation degree which is considered as the best combination for a corporate professional. While the NDA Cadets also head to IMA for further enhancing their skills in their respective arms which aims to train the cadets as excellent Officers and leaders who could the country into wars and command soldiers.
As an Engineer, your hard-work and struggle begins from the day you join the IIT. Its the survival of the fittest! There is constant competition with everyone else. You are always expected to think out of the box. You might be at a high profile appointment, but you may not really be able to keep you mind off the hook! The corporate professionals most commonly head onsite projects and live abroad dealing with foreign clients while the core students are also selected by the country’s top notch companies to head their important projects. No doubts they are awarded with hefty salaries and other perks to afford an extravaganza life though hardly any time for themselves.
An Army Officer too has a very challenging job. Tough field postings, separation from family, unnatural way of life etc. are things they deal with on daily basis. But then, in army you don’t have colleagues, you have brother-officers and the camaraderie they share, makes the journey rather enjoyable. No wonder, all faujis have so many adventurous stories to share. It is said ‘Army is not a job but a way of life’ An Army Officer once passed out from military academy looks a class apart and lead an adventurous lifestyle aiming to serve the nation.
Captain Sunil recalls,
“My civilian friends were planning a road trip to Leh and were after me to join them too. I told them I had just completed a 2.5 year tenure there, and know every inch of that area! I am not going. It amuses me that their idea of adventure is rock-climbing, river-rafting, horse-riding, camping. I have been doing all this since the academy days”.
Quality of Life
Being in a highly paid profession, most Engineers can lead a luxurious life. Kids in the best schools,foreign trips, cruises, etc. are easily possible, though what might not be possible is that You get long leaves to enjoy such pleasures. And only thing you struggle is lack of leaves and time. Sometimes the work profile of an Engineer demands him to work in night schedule. The Army way of Life is quite famous. Fitness of the body is as important as that of the mind! The Army looks after not just the soldier but his family too. Army Schools, Army Hospitals, AWWA Society are a facility as well as a security for the entire family.
There are excellent pay packages in both the fields. There is no doubt that the Engineers are one of the highly paid professionals, and even before they graduate from their institutes they are hired by the Big-Hot-Shot-Companies, which offer salaries of a few crores per annum too!
In the Army however, there might not be as many monetary benefits but then when you see it as a package, the facilities of a Well furnished House , medical care not just for the personnel but for his family too, the canteen, the insurance, the transportation and field allowances.Army Canteens,Free Medical care, various allowances, easy loans etc are other perks that an Indian Army Officer get.
One of the biggest reasons of the Army having an edge over IIT as a career is the job security it provides. The fluctuating markets, recession, state of the country or world’s economy doesn’t affect the job of an army personnel. No doubt that a good engineer would never really be jobless, but for an Army officer, come what may, his account would be credited with his salary at the end of the month, every month! Though even as highly paid Engineer to a private Multi National Company you are always under tremendous pressure to perform well,fetch good money for the company to avoid a lay off. Also global recessions are also to be monitored.
A good engineer can earn well enough and save for his old-age as in most corporate organisations Pension Schemes are unheard of. Though many world top companies provide easy medical insurances and other schemes. But the army looks after all its Soldier, even after they retire. Most perks like, medical facilities, canteen, gratuity etc.are enjoyed post retirement by the Veterans, and then of course, there is the pension, which itself is a great deal.
With so many things to look out for, it is indeed confusing what to opt for. The aspiring candidates should know that written exams of both are not very different and while preparing they should focus more on cracking IIT-JEE entrance exam because if they could cover the syllabus they can easily crack the NDA exam though the physical,group discussions and medical examination rounds decide the final results. Also as they say ‘ Do you have it in you?’ So either you have it or not and not every one can have that X factor for Army which selectors are looking for. The grass may always seem greener and the other side, but then you have to be clear in your mind, its Luxury vs Love for the Country. But whatever you chose, remember Your choice is the best choice!
Picture credits : Miss Oshin Sapra & Captain Sunil
If you are an Army lover then you must read the passionate Army Romance of a Para Commando with the five star rating on Amazon