I was a freshman in high school when I used a similar system. My first program I wrote was a game that I saved, retrieved and played on an ordinary household cassette player. I cut my teeth on the Tandy TRS-80 Model III as that was the computer that changed my life. We had no hard drives back then. Booted the OS from one floppy and use the apps from another floppy. I have a ton of stories about that.
I wrote my first database application as a junior in high school. It was a student schedule database to track where the students were during the day. I pirated a word processor app from a near by school lab and had the first word processor with spell check. As a result my school was so happy they took one of the two computers we had and put it in the front office. I was not happy about that, but it was nice to see my work being used. I latter trained my physics, math and other teachers how to create their tests on the other computer and securely store them on floppies. That was in 1983.
Most of the people I have grown up with in the industry to include my industry hero’s have not completed their degree nor do they have the desire. My degree completion was always a goal of mine. However life and the computer industry was paying me more than would I could make with a degree in Electrical Engineering. I also saw that the universities could not adapt and were way behind on the up take in the tech industry.