21 comments on “Life@ISRO

  1. Hello Dipanjan , Thanks a lot for sharing this useful information. I would like to know more about IITs M.tech point you mentioned. After 3 years service at ISRO, if we appear for GATE again, what is process to get into IISC or IIT, for sponsored candidates do we have separate rank list, how is it easy as compare to regular admission? would you please clear it more?

    • Hi Anita,

      Generally getting into IITs/IISc as a sponsored candidate is a lot easier than appearing as a regular candidate. With all these institutes, ISRO has its sponsored quota reserved. Seats are not too many, generally 2-3 per branch per institute. Most probably, some of those seats are shared by organizations other than ISRO which comes under DOS (Department of Space). Sponsored candidates need to have a valid GATE score to apply to IITs/IISc. Rank doesn’t really matter as hardly I have seen a sponsored candidate with a eye-catching GATE score/rank. As an example, I had a GATE score of 801 and rank 106 last year, still I didn’t qualify for IISC-CSA-M.Tech, but one of my seniors from ISRO having ~3.5K rank could get into IISc! Apart from that, one needs to have clearance from everyone above him/her in the hierarchy, starting from Division Head, Group Head, Deputy Director, Director, Establishment Division etc. Going as a sponsored candidate is beneficial in the sense you’ll be drawing your regular salary during the tenure of study and this period will be counted towards your service life. Even you’ll be eligible for salary increment, too. But one downside is that there is a bond of 5 years or ~12 lakhs in case of bond is broken. I am not sure whether a sponsored candidate is allowed to sit for campus placement.

      Anything else?

  2. hello Dipanjan,
    thanks for such detailed insight. Can you please let me know if for mtech candidates ISRO has any separate recruitment process or is it through written test for scientist B?

    • Hi Adrip,

      I’m not sure whether there’s any separate intake for M.Tech. candidates. But, I have seen people who have updated their latest degree to be Masters once they join the job and thus enjoyed the benefit like first promotion in two years. Again, they have some rule that requires some period of the degree to be overlapping with the stay at ISRO.

  3. thanks Dipanjan. Also the entry level position ISRO offers is Scientist/ Engineer (SC) whereas for DRDO it is scientist B . what is the difference ?

  4. To me, the only difference is additional delay in promotion (From B to C) and a little difference in compensation. In ISRO, starting from Grade C, the promotion curve goes like SC -> SD -> SE -> SF -> SG -> G -> H -> Outstanding Scientist -> Distinguished Scientist

    • thanks Dipanjan. i got a offer for scientist b at NTRO. pay scale is 15600-39100( grade pay 5400). what will be the approx salary in hand in this scale ? also the probation period is mentioned 2 years. usually it is 1 right ? . currently am in IT for 4 years. Just not able to decide whether to make the switch or stay back.

      also have appeared in 2014 ISRO selection. awaiting the results of written exam.

      • Hi Adrip,

        I joined ISRO at the same pay-scale. According to my experience, you’d start with ~45,000/Month. After deduction of Tax (Minimum), NPS-Tier-I (New Pension Scheme), CHSS (Contributory Health Service Scheme), Education Sess and Canteen bills (depends on you), you’ll receive ~37,800/Month in hand. The figure I have given you is inclusive of HRA (House Rent Allowance) and TA (Travelling Allowance).

  5. Hi Dipanjan,

    I am glad I came across your blog. I am a PhD student in Aerospace Engineering at Auburn University, Alabama, USA. My research is in the areas of Orbital Mechanics, Optimal Control. I am anticipating to finish my PhD in May 2015. After that I am thinking of working with the ISRO Satellite Center (ISAC) in Bangalore. I think one is given a Scientist SD position after PhD. Though I want to work with ISAC, I must tell you that I am skeptical about the financial as well as professional rewards. I want to get as much info about working culture and all that stuff before I leave US. Because once I leave US it is tough to get back .Could you please tell me (to the best of your knowledge) the starting salary for Scientist SD position? Also in your honest opinion how is the work culture there, does one get to work on good projects? Is it a good choice to leave the US and work there? Looking forward to hearing back from you. Thanks for the blog!

    • @Ashish..For orbital mechanics, Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC), Trivandrum is the right place not ISAC. The trajectory is designed from VSSC, and ISAC is a mere satellite supplier. Hence, if you are thinking that you want to stay at ISAC, Bangalore and work for ISRO, it would be a bad-decision, as Orbital Mechanics is not their cup of tea. Frankly, speaking the work culture in ISRO is completely different from an academic institution. You will feel a large emptiness here after you come from an US university.

      The term “project” here got no meaning. The thing is that you will get to work in different mission designs of ISRO like the moon, mars, other reentry missions. The salary for an SD is around 65k, and 52 in hand.

      My personal suggestion for you to join in an academic institute India, and try to work for the aerospace sector, by proposing innovative projects. Working in ISRO, DRDO, ADA, NAL, and HAL is like the culture is more stereotyped without any personal freedom. The choice now is yours.

      • @Ashish..The information I have given is from my own experience of ISRO. I have been here for last 8 years. Whatever I have told you about the orbital design is from my VSSC experience, you have to find out from somebody about contribution of ISAC to the orbit or trajectory design.

        • Thank you Digendra for your reply. I appreciate your suggestion of joining academia and and I will have to make a choice sooner or later. For hiring PhD graduates ISRO has a live register on its website. I have registered on the website and hoping for a call-up. Since you are already working at VSSC, do you know of any people who were hired through that register after their PhD? Also, do you know of any other ways to get into VSSC after PhD?

          Also, I have seen research papers on orbital mechanics by people at both VSSC and ISAC. The reason I mentioned ISAC was I had visited ISAC in June 2013. I had found a contact there (who also got his PhD from my university in the US). ISAC also has Flight Mechanics Division which deals with Orbital Mechanics, Attitude dynamics etc. In VSSC, I guess Applied Mathematics is the department which works in Orbital Mechanics.

          Thank you agian!

          • Dear Ashish,

            I am extremely sorry for the misinformation about ISAC. What you have told is right. Actually the satellite trajectories are designed by them. Especially like the Chandrayaan and Mars orbiter mission.

            I think for Ph D guys the website is the only root.
            However, I would tell you to try in IITs too.
            In my opinion, you would have a bright future there. Rest you decide.

            Thank you for replying back.

  6. Hi Dipanjan,

    Currently i am associated with an IT Company and looking forward to give a try for ISRO SC post (if openings are there for 2015). Having 10+ years of exp and a family, will it be worth pursuing the career in ISRO ? Being a bachelor i would have not this second thinking. Please help me If I could give a try in ISRO.

    Thanks for your detailed blog.


    • If it’s because of MOM’s success has allured you to join ISRO, then go ahead. The prestige, as an ISROian, is enormous. Unfortunately, so is not the pay packet. The work environment is better than an average IT industry, but the career growth is not that steep. There’s no onsite, unless they send you to Mars in some future manned mission! You’ll earn in INR, but never in $ or #. Being a part of ISRO, you may feel super-proud to post MOM’s pics, at the same time you may feel bad while your peers post pics of California or Toronto. Jokes apart, your decision is parameterized by so many factors, compensation at month end being the most dominant ones. On an average, one after spending 10+ years in IT should have a salary which prohibits him to move out anywhere but IT. What did exactly trigger the thought in you of switching to ISRO? May be, after knowing that I can suggest you better.

      • Hi Dipanjan,

        Thanks for your prompt reply.

        Its not only MOM’s success but also i was an admirer of ISRO and dreamt about it because of shri Abdul kalam right from my college days.I didn’t pursue it earlier was because of high competition and the Gate Syllabus which i didn’t prepare due to lack of self confidence.

        After going through few articles (including your blog) i thought of giving a try for this. If not now never i will get a chance.

        Even in IT industry, I could not survive after 45 yrs of age if i am continuing in technical side. I never had dream of moving onsite.

        After MOM’s success i went through ISRO career site (for every site I go, my hand automatically moves to this career page ) found 2014 advertisement suiting my qualifications. Thought of giving a try, and further found your blog to be more point blank about the life style.

        I want a compensation, which i can use it for educating my kid and for my daily expense should be more than sufficient. Post retirement i didnt think as of now. I find it too early to think about it. If these things can be met, i can think of pursuing career in this organisation.

        • If you are so inspired, then go ahead. Earlier I tried to ‘discourage’ you by telling you the truth which you might find hard to accept once joined ISRO. But, there’s a bright part of the story, too.

          There’s no published syllabus as such. Assuming it to be the same as GATE is the safest. Competition is not as as hard as GATE is now-a-days. It’s true that it’s difficult to survive in IT after a few years. From that perspective, it’s a lot easier to continue with ISRO after 45. As an Engineer-SC, you’d start with ~45,000/Month. After deduction of Tax (Minimum), NPS-Tier-I (New Pension Scheme), CHSS (Contributory Health Service Scheme), Education Sess and Canteen bills (depends on you), you’ll receive ~37,800/Month in hand. The figure I have given you is inclusive of HRA (House Rent Allowance) and TA (Travelling Allowance). Government will provide you with unlimited medical coverage for you, your spouse and first two children. All the top-class nursing-homes and hospitals are covered. Not only hospitalization, but day-to-day medical expenses can also be claimed end to end, for Doctor’s fees, medical investigations, medicines etc. Probably some part of your children’s education is also paid back though I’m not much sure about it. The amount deducted towards NPS is divided among three heads as 30%+30%+40%. The return from those shares is your pension. Probably you are allowed to draw 15% of your NPS investment, in case you need it. Works hours is moderate (8 hours), though your division head may want you to work a few hours more in case of any immediate requirement, e.g. pre-launch activity. Whether you’ll be asked to do so depends on the division/project you are in. However, needless to say, it’s occasional and far less hectic than any IT company’s schedule. Most of the people do it happily as they find a noble cause to serve the nation and country. Please take a note, there’s no practice of ‘overtime’ payment in such cases, but you can avail a cab to drop you at doorstep.

          • Thanks for your detailed reply and patiently explaining things. Well.. Let me give a try and start preparing as of now.

            Once again Thanks.

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