A background in programming can definitely help you understand some of the concepts we cover in class. However, the majority of our students have never written a program, and they don't plan to start. That's perfectly fine!
On the other hand, operating systems are essentially programs. Malware samples are programs. Attackers exploit programming flaws and create custom toolkits by writing scripts and leveraging APIs. Thus, if we told you that a familiarity with how programs work was not helpful to becoming a better analyst, we'd be doing you a disservice.
If you're concerned about your background, just drop us a note and tell us a little bit about yourself - what your goals are and what you plan to get out of the class. We'll be glad to help get you prepared and so that you know exactly what to expect.