Ron Jensen began his IT career as a self-professed “propeller head.” But now he is the purchasing manager for IT professional services at construction equipment manufacturing giant Caterpillar Inc.

“I did the bits and bytes,” Jensen said at Gartner’s recently held outsourcing conference last month. Then, in his mid-40s, Jensen decided he wanted to take advantage of other opportunities available at the company and earned an MBA.

For those interested in following a similar career path, Jensen’s top piece of advice is to learn some business skills.

Pamela Carreon, who manages offshore outsourcing and enterprise vendor services at Wells Fargo & Co. in San Francisco, said she needs to fill three jobs on her staff and wants people who are good communicators, listeners and problem-solvers.

Finance and business management experience are also high on Carreon’s skills wish list.

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