"I find it telling that the foundation of my career is based upon an investment made by my parents for our home"
My parents used to give me their cast off IBM PC's - I never had anything else, or a console. So in 1990-ish I had an Amstrad PC1512 with a 20 meg hard disk, MSDOS3, and GEM. I formatted the whole thing, got it running DOS-5, installed Windows 1 (or 2)
By 1995-ish I'd reached the dizzy heights of a Tandon 286 with an EGA screen. And just as I went to uni in 1997 they gave me a 386-DX. So all of these machines were a good 8-10 years behind the curve, which meant I could never play the latest games. Which was great, because instead I learned about hardware, installing/tweaking OS'es to run in limited resources and also a bit of coding in MS QBasic of all things. To this day I still know DOS scripting backwards (in fact that knowledge got me my first IT job) and I'm still using it regularly for work thanks to some legacy products I have to deal with.
So like yourself I now have a career as a developer IN SPITE of a state schooling system that basically just wanted to teach me how to do mail merge in MS Office. The thing I owe my career and interest in computing to is my parents being too tight to buy me a new computer, and giving me their knackered old ones instead.