After you have taken a CSE class or two, you can actually start doing things on your own. Even though the beginner CSE classes specifically teach Java, you learn general programming skills that can be applied to other languages. Many programming languages besides Java require knowledge of types, loops, algorithm, and objects. After obtaining a foundation in Java, you can learn new languages and not start completely from scratch.
Besides expanding your programming knowledge, you can also apply your skills as well. With basic programming knowledge, you can do things like creating website and making applications. Of course, these things may not be easy to pickup, but as a programmer, you will have an edge over a random person with no programming background. Doing things like making website or applications looks great on your resume and can even bring in some extra income if you are looking to make money from your projects.
Even if you are learning programming languages and are not in a computer science related major, it can still be helpful. Learning programming is definitely one of those things that will only help you and give you an edge. Companies would love to see that you have programming skills even if they are not looking specifically for a programmer.