This is a great question because it will garner a lot of different perspectives and naturally there is no one right answer :)
For me, and to add to the answers that give a good overview already, I think a challenge in IT is to find something to specialize in, like a specific technology or discipline within IT (and keep up to date with it), but also being able to broadly know your industry, the business or org you work for (in terms of how all the functions you work with like sales, customer services, marketing, and HR etc..), and your customers too!
What I am referring to is typically referred to as someone having t-shaped skills (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-shaped_skills) - you are a subject matter expert in something but also appreciate how everything fits together in your industry and the business you work in; I think this can help you accelerate your learning, but also make you stand out!
Why do I think it is a challenge? Well, I think it can be hard to get real exposure to that broad experience of your industry or your business and without this it could hold you back long-term or even mean you miss out on your next move to a new job. Personally I feel most employers, but especially in IT, are looking for evidence of t-shaped skills from their candidates and personally, from doing many interview in my time, it is hard to find people with this mix of skills. Those who intentionally shape their career, especially in the early days, to get this experience really stand out.
2 tips for addressing this challenge :
- If you have a job, intentionally try to get exposure to how thing work at a high-level outside of your team, keep inquisitive and really look to understand the other teams in your company, learn about the processes your company uses, and research industry trends etc..
- Ideally you could aim to work for a consulting company (e.g., Accenture) or an outsourcing company (e.g., Capgemini) because these companies can expose you to many different customers and many different industries in a very short amount of time and therefore accelerate your learning and help with this challenge!
Oliver recommends the following next steps:
- Workout if working towards a T-shaped skills set is for you (start here - first half of video covers a good discussion around this topic) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LfWqNTxdqY and google around the topic!)