You'll be amazed at the number of people who still have that opinion. Hell - look at one of the subheadings used in the article "SCOUTING FOR ARTISTS" - designer != art!
The other big issue is just the raw numbers. There are dramatically fewer designers out there than developers - especially those who have a cross-section of the skills that the average startup is looking for. It's a good time to be a design generalist.
In fact, now that I think about it, some of the problems is that organisations still have that view of "the designer". Hiring that single person who is going to solve all of their problems. Companies that wouldn't hesitate to hire a DBA, a back-end dev and a front-end dev don't understand that they should be hiring a visual designer and an interaction designer (or whatever).
As somebody who makes a chunk of their money from "designer" stuff (not visual design, but user research, interaction design & user testing) I don't think it is entirely hype.
Just like you get a lot more people now who get the difference between a technical co-founder and "just hiring some developer", I'm encountering more people who understand the value that design can bring to an organisation. The change is by no means widespread, but there do seem to be more people who "get it" than their used to be.
But I'm not sure how effective similar online programs would be. From my experience, teaching/learning design can be a lot more frustrating than teaching/learning code. Perhaps it's because design gets a lot more subjective at the advanced levels.