When I studied CS in Germany in the 80's my professor was obsessed with Knuth. So I learned all the hard stuff the hard way. Tough but good times. I especially loved the proofs of all the relationship between a Turing machine and let’s say n-complete functions.
Today, I feel literally quite sad seeing that the art of programming is still a virtue that not many master but instead fake. Which in ordinary cases works well. But if you set the ambition level high, all these mediocre skills become brittle and thus only a few exist that will go further and really create stunning and creative works. In that sense, nothing has really changed.