What I'm wondering is: doesn't university prove that one is capable of learning programming/computer-related topics?
The hardest things I've learned about were:
- creating a computer graphics engine from scratch (I did this in Java which made it easier)
- reproducing a simplified version of Kevin Mitnick's attack on the Boston super computer (? not sure, memory is vague) with C, libpcap, tcpdump and other tools/libs
- being passable at reading x86/x64 assembly and understanding how a computer is built from the architectural level to a modern programming language, playing around with creating an MUL instruction for a toy ISA
- compilers and reading a toy ISA to then be able to read the toy machine code made for it
Is this practical? No.
Is this a lot harder than creating a new web app for a startup just starting out? Yes, if you know a programming language or two, then it's easy to hack things with JS together and also fairly easy to get up to snuff with ReactJS and ES<whatever_year_it_is> since it's mostly syntax features.
I don't have experience working with legacy systems or 1 million users large scale systems, so I can't comment on whether that's more difficult. However, since this article is about startups. I've worked for startups that existed 2+ years, and becoming productive on the job didn't take me long and I'm not an amazing programmer by any means.
My bachelor though, yea, that was a lot worse. My master in CS saved me by following security courses where the professors expected you to learn almost anything on your own.