I'm new to QGIS and have no programming skills.
Is there an easy/uncomplicated way to create multiple buffers around a line feature?
The way to do it without plugins is use Batch Processing from Processing toolbox.
In the batch processing window you can do different settings on different parameters (one layer - different distances, same distance - different layers etc.).
You can also autofill your output file names depend on parameters.
Documentation: Batch processing QGIS manual
Now possible with the Multi Ring Buffer:
In version 0.1 it only works on the layer that is selected in the TOC when you launch the tool but feature requests can be posted to the issue tracker:
If you are just looking for visual buffering (not creating the buffers as accurate features), you can utilize the 'new symbology' and build up symbol layers, basing their size on map units. Click 'Change..' under the symbol to add layers. Also, look into rule-based symbols for logical control over what gets visually buffered.
I have had the same problem. I found that you can do multiple ring buffers in OpenJump.
Which is another open source GIS and may be suitable for your requirements.