I started writing programs in the console in C++ as well. Do I feel like it was a waste of time? Not exactly. I think starting with console programs helped me to grasp the fundamentals of programming, but I do wish I had worked with something more graphical.
The console helped me learn the basics like if, else, classes, and such. But it took me a LONG time. I couldn't grasp the concept well because there wasn't much there for me to work with. Without my good friend YouTube, I don't think I would have learned. I wish it was explained to me how other stuff works, like in order to start making basic games you should look into OpenGL\DirectX and libraries associated with it.
I didn't really begin to grasp everything until I switched to C# for a while messing around with the XNA Game Studio. It was TREMENDOUSLY helpful. Because everything was right there and I could finally see how things worked. Do I think learning how to program in the console is a complete waste of time? Not at all. But if you're looking to go into game programming, it may be more beneficial to start with something else.
You have no idea how excited I was when I re-made Pong in C# with XNA. It was an amazing feeling, like something was actually coming together. It was the simplest of games and it was a wonderful start. Then I moved back to C++ with the SDL library and I felt even better. I wish I had started with making a simple Pong clone in the first place.
I see a LOT more use for the console now that I've actually learned quite a bit. But starting out with it, I thought the console wasn't all that helpful. I think what actually made me like it was making a simple text adventure game. That was the kind of idea I needed to like the console. Because up until then I couldn't think of much use for it. All I could think was what in the world was it good for? Although now I think the console is pretty amazing. This is my long answer, I wish the poll had a third option.
Also, I think it may be important to mention, that I didn't have a teacher, and that may skew my view a bit. YouTube was my teacher. I was learning on my own.