With respect, I don’t think that’s the big deal it’s made out to. I’ve known people who first started programming in university and still went on to become CS researchers.
I started programming around 9 years of age, but what did I really learn then? Entering programs letter by letter from articles, writing hopelessly unstructured code… I honestly don’t think there’s any skill I picked up in my first ten years of programming that my non-programming classmates in university didn’t pick up in the first ten weeks. Probably less. The only real edge I had was a little confidence from overcoming earlier programming-related frustrations.
If it seems people without early programming experience have trouble keeping up, it may be that causality goes the other way: if they never tried programming before college, that might be because they weren’t interested enough in it to seek it out — and then I’d expect them to do worse.