I started programming when I was in 8th grade by writing silly little games in BASIC and eventually C for a toy called a Cybiko. Cybikos were essentially Palm Pilots targeted at teens:
Writing code felt like magic. I could place sprites on the screen, let the user move them around and suddenly I had made myself a game, albeit a simple one.
I made a game that let you pop balloons as they rose from the bottom of the screen. I made a Minesweeper clone. I started to make a Mortal Kombat-like fighting game but couldn’t figure out how to write an AI to fight back so I gave up on that one, but still released what I had written anyway. I made a text-based choose-your-own adventure story. I had a website. It had forums and a community where people would gather to talk about Cybiko Development. I had passion. I was 13 and naive.
I didn’t care how my code read, or if it was maintainable, or if it was DRY, or if it was tested, or how long it’d take me to write, or if features were separated into logical chunks that I could work on in an agile style with 2-week deliverables, or any of the day to day crap I have to think about as a career coder today. Granted, I do see the importance in many of the things I just listed, but they sure do take the fun out of the act and have killed my passion.