I got some money as a present on my 11th birthday and just because I thought it looked cool, I bought a philips electronic play kit, where you could create simple curcuits out of transistors and stuff like that.
I then proceeded to go to the library and try to read all books I could on electronics. Sadly I didn’t understand much, even though I wanted to. The only book that was on my level was one about digital electronics, which made me able create very small multiplexers out of the things I had lying around in my room.
There were few books on digital electronics, but some about programming, which apparently was related. So I started to read a book called ‘Basic, Basic’ which was (as one might think) about the programming language Basic.
I really wanted to try out my newly acquired programming skills but had no money to buy a computer (I was now in my early teens, in the early 1980s) so me and a friend took the bus from school to electronic shops and TV stores and started programming on their computer until we were thrown out, again and again.
Eventually I worked extra and saved money over a period of a year so I could buy my very own computer. It was a Sinclair ZX-80 with a 8-bit Z-80 CPU and 1K of memory (including graphics memory – so when you wrote long programs, the screen area on the TV set shrank). This led me to always just start with a simple hex loader and then code everything in machine language, which took less space.
And, well, that’s how I came to learn how to program.