>Computing became interesting and attractive only after the Internet became a thing. Not before.
There were tens of thousands of practicing computer scientists, programmers and hobbyists before the commercial commoditization of the Internet. The pay was good, there were jobs available, and anyone who was capable and motivated would likely be able to forge a career in the field.
Mainframes and terminals still ruled factories, and systems created by Baan, SAP, JD Edwards, etc. ran them.
In the office Apple, Commodore, IBM, Compaq and other companies had put machines on workers’ desks, and companies like Novell were already networking them. Gaming was taking off, both on desktop machines and in the early consoles on televisions. Dialup connectivity to BBS’s was being used relatively heavily, and through online services like CompuServe, it was possible to do banking with the likes of Bank of America.
All before the Internet.
Indeed, it was an interesting and attractive time before the Protocol Wars, before Wintel, and before websites. And plenty of good people made money in the field.