My Name is Jacob Varner and This is Why You Should Hire Me

Jacob Varner
Sep 28, 2018 · 7 min read
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Hello, my name is Jacob Varner and I’m looking for a job. My website will just tell you that I’m an MBA candidate with a degree in Software Engineering from Auburn University. While my website also has some of my projects, my certifications, my recent blog posts, and even my favorite podcasts, I still feel like even it can’t truly let you know what I have to offer.

Because I’ll graduate in May 2019, I’ve recently started my career search and have already felt like my resume and website are not capable of fully revealing what I have to offer.

As an alternative to all of the normal things people use to try and get hired, I wanted to write this blog post and attempt to explain the skills I have, how my experiences have built on those skills, how I put those skills to work on a daily basis, and finally how I continue to develop those skills.

I hope this post will serve as a proper introduction, but if it still leaves things to be desired, please feel free to reach out on Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Leadership and Management

If I think back to what my early skills, I often land on leadership first. As the oldest child, I was a leader amongst my siblings and cousins. In sports and in friend groups, I would naturally take on the leadership role.

As I continued to develop my leadership skills as I got older, I now have had many opportunities in college to greatly expand and utilize those leadership abilities.

Throughout my entire time at Auburn, I’ve had the opportunity to work in the College of Sciences and Mathematics Outreach Office where I first served as ‘the IT guy’ and have evolved into other program management roles over time.

Our office puts on several programs aimed at bringing science, engineering, and robotics to K-12 students and their teachers. As I spent more time in the COSAM Outreach office, I had the opportunity to take on lead roles in these programs.

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The South’s BEST Regional Robotics Championship seeding matches

I’ve served as the head scorekeeper for both War Eagle and South’s BEST Robotics competitions for six years. I’ve been a counselor, and now head counselor for the Summer Science Institute for five years.

Now, as a graduate student in the office, I’ve been in charge of keeping undergraduate students on tasks and working with the other full-time employees in our office to make sure all of our programs continue to run smoothly and we are able to have a large impact on the kids and teachers in our area and across the Southeast.

While working in the COSAM Outreach office has given me numerous opportunities to develop and use my leadership skills, I’ve also applied these skills as road captain and now president of the Auburn Club Cycling Team.

As president, I oversee both our MTB and road teams, work with sponsors, develop team chemistry, communicate with our club sports directors, and keep six other officers on task as we do our best to continue a winning cycling team.

During my MBA at Auburn University, I also completed a multi day leadership workshop called iLead and combined that with classes on management and organizational leadership.

I hope to someday apply and further develop these leadership skills in a management role at a software or technology focused company.

Business and Technical Knowledge

Probably the most important skills I have to offer as I start my career are the combination of technical and problem solving skills with my business knowledge.

Ever since high school, when I was a part of the Engineering Academy at Hoover High School, I was taught the importance of business and engineering being used together. Business ideas were not as useful with no product to carry out those ideas and even the coolest engineering product is a lot less useful without a market or users.

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In Dubrovnik, Croatia for Auburn’s MBA International Trip

I chose to go ahead and get my MBA at Auburn after graduating with a degree in Software Engineering just like our final year in the Engineering Academy was a senior design project with a heavy focus on bringing a product to market.

In order to showcase my web development abilities, I have built several projects on both CodePen and Github.

I got started building basic websites with HTML and CSS in high school and have since explored technologies such as PHP, Java, C#, Python, and even Meteor. In college, I quickly learned I enjoyed building for the web the most and continued to expand my skills in HTML5, SCSS/Sass, and JavaScript ES6.

I am now in the process of getting better with React.js, Node.js, and MongoDB so that I can have knowledge of the full web stack in order to built a large variety of products and solve a wider range of problems.

Recently I’ve built: a new version of my personal website, a calculator, an exercise tracker API, a pomodoro clock, the scoring calculator for this year’s BEST Robotics game, and several other projects that focus on various specific web development skills.

I look forward to working on a team and with a company that can allow me to use my web development skills to build products that have an impact on people and solve problems.

Continuous Improvement

Above all else, I think the biggest thing I have to offer, is my continuous drive to always learn more and strive for self improvement. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with learning and borderline obsessed with productivity and optimization of my time and abilities.

I was attracted to web development because of the constant evolution of the technologies used in the space. While it can seem like a challenge to have to constantly learn new things to stay relevant in the field, I love this challenge and enjoy that it further pushes me to always keep learning.

As soon as I learned PHP, I had a sense that I should learn Ruby on Rails. Then after building a project with Rails, I decided JavaScript would be the next thing to focus on since it was used in several frameworks like Angular, React, and even Node on the backend.

Currently, I am in the middle of the #100DaysOfCode challenge where I have commited to code for at least an hour a day while logging my progress on Github and on Twitter. During this challenge, I have worked through most of the freeCodeCamp curriculum covering most major web development topics. I have completed five certifications and am almost done with my sixth and final certificate from freeCodeCamp.

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On top of the freeCodeCamp curriculum, I have also been reading through the You Don’t Know JavaScript book series as I try to get a better grasp on the inner workings of a language I use on a daily basis. Once I complete my first 100 days of the #100DaysOfCode challenge, I plan to start a similar challenge focused on reading in order to start digging through my stack of books that are piling up on my desk.

During all of my walking commutes throughout the day, I enjoy learning and passing the time by listening to many different podcasts. While a few podcasts are for entertainment, I also enjoy learning more about web development and my career through podcasts such as Syntax, Shop Talk, and This Week in Startups.

While I still consider myself a newer web developer, my desire to constantly improve and learn makes me a valuable asset to any team. I’m currently trying to learn more and more about React.js, Node.js, MongoDb and technologies that complement this stack while keeping an important focus on making sure my underlying JavaScript skills continue to improve.

I believe that my resume and portfolio of projects put a good foot forward, but I hope that this blog post further underlines my abilities and skills that I can add to a team.

I am a natural leader and have had many opportunities to use and develop these skills as a Program Manager in COSAM Outreach and as President of the Auburn Club Cycling Team.

I have an unique combination of technical skills and business knowledge that I have gained through high school engineering courses, Software Engineering and MBA degrees at Auburn, and constant efforts to gather more education online.

Lastly, I am a quick learner who strives for continuous improvement especially as it relates to my web development and business knowledge.

I hope that this blog post does a sufficient job of summarizing what I have to offer as a job candidate. If you think I would be a valuable asset to your team or have further questions for me, please don’t hesitate to connect with me on LinkedIn or even reach out on Twitter.

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