I was one of the first computer users in our school. We had an
Apple II, and a small group of us (myself included) interfaced
that to an ASR33 teletype. The school let us do an external
A-level in Computer Science, at CCAT (now Anglia Polytechnic
University). I spent some of my spare time designing a
microcoded CPU architecture, which of course I didn't have the
resources to build.
Graphical Software Limited [BCPL, x86 assembler, PERQ microcode]
A small company writing operating systems, tools and
a word processor. I worked here in my gap year, between school
and university. This is where I first did any commercial programming.