First there is just you.
Someone will hand you a problem, and ask for a solution. You’ll give them the answer when it’s fait accomplis. How long it took is how long it’d take.
Time passes, you grow smarter. Estimation develops. When someone hands you a problem, you know ahead of time how long it’ll take.
Soon you’re fixing problems predictably.
Then the problems get bigger. The problems themselves contain problems. When you encounter an unexpected problem, you can fix that too.
Before long you don’t need someone to hand you the problems. You start finding them yourself. Of course these get thrown over the wall because you’re the "problem finder", not the "problem solver".
Folks appreciate this and it’s fun. Before long you can spot a problem a mile away. Folks come to you for advise, as if you are some kind of "Problem Oracle at Delphi".
It’s a comfortable place to be. No responsibility. No hard problems to solve. Adoration from the needy.
This is where MOST people get stuck.
Next time you’re wondering why your career is stuck ask yourself these basic questions:
"What types of problems am I working on?"
"Do people HAND me problems? Or do I seek them out?"
"Why don’t people give me BIGGER problems?"
"Am I a Problem FINDER? or a Problem Solver?"
"When I escalate, do I share Problems with others? or do I share SOLUTIONS?"
"How can I share a BIGGER solution? (answer: find a bigger problem)"
This might seem like a BS "The Secret" type posting but there’s a grain of truth to it.