I have been working in the realm of manual testing for years. Over that time I have been given a lot of lead way and have been able to do more then our average tester. This is because I took a lot of programing courses in University. Being able to look at the code and understand what is going on and understanding why something breaks has helped me loads in testing.
It allows me to find new tools, learn coding for fixing minor bugs or just figuring out a little more then the manual tester. I think all QA should have some basic understanding of Object oriented programing. Not only does it help you become a better tester your developers listen to you more.
So when you have time learn some coding. This Head First book about Java is great but you can also try Codecademy.