I bought a used 8088 off an ad in the base newspaper at NASJAX. The ad said it came with hundreds of dollars worth of software. I thought that was a good deal. Until I realized later that you could easily copy all the files.
No hard drive, dual floppy disks. Boot disk. Then run a program and save data to the B: drive.
WordPefect, Lotus 1 2 3 & dBase III+ got me started and hooked. Did some programming with QBasic.
Iterations, loops, if, then, else, do while, X = X + 1. Once someone explained how it worked, it made more sense. It was downright brilliant. I think the best tool available at the time to become a better programmer was the debugging tools. You can step a line at a time and check variable values as you go along. It sure helps when you get a value that you didn't expect. It was a lot more efficient than staring at a print out of your program trying to figure out where the bug lies.