So I have a phone screening for an intern position coming up on Wednesday. I had a moment this weekend when I realized that I know more about procedural programming (and problem solving) than I do about OOP, though I do consider myself a strong programmer.

For someone who has never done something like this before what should I expect? What should I know? I know common langauge syntax (for the most part) but OOP is kind of a gray area for me. Obviously I should study up on that, but what else might I want to know?

I should also mention that I don't know what language they will ask me about (and this call is supposed to determine my programming skills). I'm going to call the hiring person about that soon. Will update.

That's not a bad place to start. That is, if you program now, you can read the top 10 finds at to see what's up. Not that you'll be an expert in a day.

As to languages, there are a legion of OOP languages so I have yet to find anyone learn them all. ADA OOP programers are rare as sunny days in Vancouver, BC.

UPDATE: The hiring person said it would be basically any language I wanted, so that's a plus.

A phone screening or phone anything isn't particularly a good vehicle for learning someone's programming skills IMO. The fact that they haven't specified a language would add to my guess that they may be screening for experience and aptitude rather than actual skill in coding.

By all means do call the hiring person (or HR or a point of contact) to try to learn what thehy may ask you. I see no downside in doing this. From a hiring/interviewing point of view, unless you were told not to do that or already told what was expected, I would view it as a positive thing. The worst thing that could happen is they simply won't tell you before before the interview, in which case you're no better off than before, but no worse off either. And you might get your answers or at least get more contact with the decision makers, which keeps you in their thoughts, which is a good thing. Just treat the phone call like an interview. Assume every contact you make with anyone is being watched and judged, so be on your game and behave as if the person doing the hiring might ask the receptionist and the janitor whether you should be hired.

If they didn't specify a language, then choose one yourself. You can't go wrong with Java except that it can take a while to learn, so it may be better to go with C++ or Python. Shorter learning curve and a little easier to "fake it till you make it". They may just be looking for you to understand and explain things conceptually and in pseudocode rather than actual code.

EDIT: I see you've already talked to the folks there.

Okay so I just wanted to update you guys about it. It was not what I was expecting. I mean it was but there was a twist. I should have asked my CS friend about it beforehand. They wanted me to write some code and solve a few problems, pretty simple but difficult because of anxiety.

In short it went better than I could have hoped, but worse than I wanted (the interviewer said I did fine). I might hear back in a few weeks.

I should have asked my CS friend about it beforehand.

It's a decent rule of thumb that if you have someone on the inside who can help prep you, let them prep you. The exception is when that is considered improper nepotism, but it's generally easy enough for that person to flat-out ask the interviewers if they have a problem with that. As I mentioned, I have always personally viewed this as a positive thing. Shows the interviewee and my employee care enough to prepare. Again, rule of thumb

They wanted me to write some code and solve a few problems

How do you do that on a phone?

the interviewer said I did fine

You probably did do fine then. Congratulations. In my experience, if they tell you that in a SCREENING interview such as yours, that means you passed the screening and you're off to the next step, particularly for an internship like you're applying for. You occasionally find interviewers who lie and say that to avoid having to be the bearer of bad news, but IMO there's no need to lie. It's not right and a waste of the interviewer's and interviewee's time. Hopefully you made sure to ask "What's the next step in the process?" I've found for some reason that many young people applying for entry level or intern jobs are afraid that asking that will be a turnoff. It never was for me. I welcomed the question and would generally tell them as much as I could so that they could prepare properly. That served ME well too because I got to see the candidates at their best after preparing for what I wanted to test them on.

Anyway, good luck, and if you spend twenty hours getting your coding answers down perfect, don't forget to spend an hour or two laying out the appropriate attire, practicing your "Hello, how are you?" handshake, demeanor, etcetera. People neglect that a lot. They shouldn't.