I´ve been thinking for a while about what to answer, this question is pretty suitable to be answered with the typical “yes and no”. So I think I will elaborate a bit, mainly because I felt terribly lost when learning Houdini and I will be happy if I can help someone.
You might have heard a hundred times that Houdini is a monster, a huge piece of software with which you can achieve many things. After some years using it in a daily basis, I think this is true. The limit is your imagination and your knowledge of the techniques. If you are happy with the pre-made solutions the software offers, then it is fine, you will need almost no code…but you will be an inhabitant of the boring pre-made universe. You´ll be able to do a ton of things, though, including production work.
However, as you progress, you will watch videos from other Houdini users and Technical Artists. In those videos you will spot actions performed by code snippets, called “VEX wranglers” which amazingly solve major problems or highly-time consuming tasks in a way you would have never thought it could be possible. Sometimes with a couple of lines of code. You want some of this magic. Take a look at these Houdini Coding Courses.
Example of VEX wrangle
VEX wrangles are a type of nodes that allow you to drive custom data operations with code created by the Houdini Technical Artist within the node network.
But then you realize that this involves coding: Yes, you met a Houdini-specific programming code called VEX which might look like a downside at first sight. If you dive a bit deeper, you will realize that there are up to three coding languages you can combine within Houdini!!!: VEX, HScript and Python! Each one is better/more suitable to perform certain operations. It doesn´t mean you need to know them to fire Houdini, they are just a bunch of tools at your disposal.
After some years, I realized that coding, is the key factor that will let you reach the stars. It is painful at first, because it is a new language you need to get used to, and looks poorly artistic. However, reaching the simplicity of the code, getting used to it, and understanding the way it works, will give you the power of creation, as if you were able to split the atom. Then, once your mind has done that switch, you will realize about the technical poverty 3d artists are used to if compared to other packages.
To sum up, it is up to you to decide if coding is going to be your enemy, bothering you from time to time, or your best friend, making you able to bend 3d universe to your will.