Chris is Cool
When I was about 11 or 12 (year 6 or 7?) a girl called Charlotte showed me something she'd done on a BBC Computer:
10 PRINT "CHARLOTTE IS COOL" 20 GOTO 10 RUN
And the computer did it, it printed what she'd told it to all over the screen until we hit the "Escape" button. I of course then nipped over to another computer and wrote it again, but with CHRIS IS COOL instead.
Maybe it was a bit of a lie, I wasn't cool at all, I'd just become a computer programmer and back then nobody really knew what a big deal programming was going to be. There was no web, no Google, no Windows, no iTunes, but starting programming was the single best thing that ever happened to me. I found I loved writing computer code. For me it's a bit like playing guitar -- some people work very hard to get good, other people just love playing guitar and do it every day, and don't even realise they've been practising. It was like discovering there there's a "grown up" LEGO, where you design your own bricks to build really complicated cool things.
I love doing it, and the amazing part is people are willing to pay me for doing something I love. I still write tons of stuff for fun on weekends, though. As I got into my twenties I started finding that it's even more fun if what you do helps other people, or makes them happy. I wrote a few fun scripts to do handy things in the (then) new "GIMP" art package, and some of my scripts were added to the official version. As GIMP comes with many versions of Linux, so when I see a Linux CD-ROM I always feel proud that I helped make a teeny-tiny bit of it.
Because of my love of programming I've got a well paid job, travelled to different countries to share ideas, I've met amazing people, and made friends with quite a few of those amazing people.
I'm 35 now, and that two line computer program was over 20 years ago! The computer I'm writing this on has 4 processors inside, each one is 800 times faster than that BBC Micro computer, and has over 50 Thousand times as much RAM!! By the time people now in year 7 are my age, computers will be that much more powerful again, and we'll need some amazing people to programme them.
The best musicians are the ones who started practising young, and never stopped. It's the same for computer programmers.