Year in Review


Hi! My name's Aaron Snowberger and I'm a WordPress/PHP web developer who's living in Jeonju, South Korea. I teach ESL at Jeonju University, Computer Science and Graphic Design at GPA International High School, and do freelance work with various clients to help them achieve their objectives on the web and in design. This is a Review of my Year: 2016.

My Year in Review:
to remember the good things
and prepare for new. Learning Paths Completed

My primary goal for 2016 was: to learn PHP deeply. Here are the results.

Become a Junior WordPress Developer
Completion Date: July 2016

Become a PHP Developer
Completion Date: December 2016 Courses Completed


  • WordPress ( 20 )
  • PHP ( 15 )
  • JavaScript ( 5 )
  • Fundamentals ( 3 )
  • Forms ( 3 )
  • Career ( 3 )
  • CSS ( 6 )
  • Other ( 11 )

WordPress DIY: Community Website
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (2:16)

WordPress Ecommerce: Core Concepts
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (1:03)

WordPress Ecommerce
Patrick Rauland (1:10)

WordPress Workflows
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (1:06)

WordPress: Building Themes from Scratch Using Underscores
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (6:39)

Moving WordPress with WP Migrate DB and DB Pro
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (1:03)

WordPress: Building Child Themes
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (2:27)

WordPress: Building a Paid Membership Site
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (1:48)

WordPress Developer Tips: Information Architecture and the Template Hierarchy
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (0:21)

WordPress Essential Training
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (5:28)

Customizing WordPress Themes: Simone
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (1:02)

WordPress: Developing with Sass and Grunt.js
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (1:36)

Accessibility for WordPress
Joe Dolson (1:31)

WordPress: Custom Post Types and Taxonomies
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (1:45)

WordPress Plugins: Advanced Custom Fields
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (1:39)

WordPress: Creating Custom Plugins with PHP
Carrie Dils (1:48)

WordPress and Internationalization
Carrie Dils (0:54)

WordPress REST API (WP-API): First Look
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (1:38)

AngularJS and WordPress: Building a Single-Page Application
Roy Sivan (0:32)

WordPress Themes: Twenty Seventeen
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (0:36)

Design the Web: Animated Loading GIFs
Chris Converse (0:26)

Web Icons with SVG
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (1:44)

Introducing PHP
David Powers (6:57)

Creating Secure PHP Websites
Kevin Skoglund (4:16)

PHP for Web Designers
David Powers (5:26)

Easy PHP Projects: Time Zone Conversion
Kevin Skoglund (2:54)

Easy PHP Projects: Single-Serving Sites
Kevin Skoglund (3:01)

Easy PHP Projects: Measurement Conversion
Kevin Skoglund (2:17)

PHP with MySQL Essential Training
Kevin Skoglund (14:32)

PHP with MySQL Beyond the Basics
Kevin Skoglund (10:26)

Easy PHP Projects: Password Utilites
Kevin Skoglund (1:56)

Uploading Files Securely with PHP
David Powers (2:50)

Managing PHP Persistent Sessions
David Powers (2:41)

MVC Frameworks for Building PHP Web Applications
Drew Falkman (2:39)

PHP 7 New Features
Kevin Skoglund (1:04)

PHP: Advanced Topics
Justin Yost (2:17)

Code Clinic: PHP
David Powers (4:44)

MySQL Essential Training
Bill Weinman (4:24)

Before & After: Logo Design Tips and Tricks
John McWade (0:57)

The Science of Logo Design
William Lidwell (0:45)

Introducing the JavaScript Language
Joe Chellman (2:55)

Online Presentations with reveal.js
Ray Villalobos (2:02)

jQuery for Web Designers
Joe Chellman (1:42)

Learn React.js: The Basics
Eve Porcello (1:41)

JavaScript Essential Training
Simon Allardice (5:31)

Pop Chart Lab’s Infographic Poster Design: Start to Finish
Patrick Mulligan & Ben Gibson (0:09)

Infographics Fundamentals
Amy Balliett (1:11)

InDesign Insider Training: Print PDFs
David Blatner (1:16)

InDesign CC 2017: New Features
Justin Seeley (0:07)

HTML5: Web Forms in Depth
Joe Marini (1:58)

HTML Essential Training
James Williamson (5:54)

Version Control for Everyone
Joe Chellman (2:06)

Up and Running with Git and GitHub
Ray Villalobos (1:21)

Programming Fundamentals in the Real World
Barron Stone (3:08)

Foundations of Programming: Fundamentals
Simon Allardice (4:47)

Foundations of Programming: Databases
Simon Allardice (3:11)

Web Form Design Best Practices
Luke Wroblewski (3:46)

Validating and Processing Forms with JavaScript and PHP
Ray Villalobos (2:51)

Building Responsive Forms with Flexbox
James Williamson (1:20)

J.T. O’Donnell on Making Recruiters Come to You
J.T. O'Donnell (0:26)

Becoming a Web Developer: Full Stack vs. Front End
Ray Villalobos (0:40)

Building and Maintaining your UX Design Portfolio
Diane Cronenwett (0:16)

Making Sense of the CSS Box Model
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (0:50)

CSS: Styling Forms
Ray Villalobos (4:01)

Advanced Responsive Layouts with CSS Flexbox
Morten Rand-Hendriksen (1:49)

CSS: Flexbox First Look
James Williamson (2:03)

CSS Fundamentals
James Williamson (2:51)

CSS: Core Concepts
James Williamson (8:52)

Personal Branding on Social Media
Karen Leland (1:08)

Bootstrap 4: First Look
Ray Villalobos (1:13)

Learn Atom: The Basics
Ray Villalobos (2:02)

WordPress Courses


I've been learning WordPress since 2010:

PHP Courses


Although I've been tinkering with WordPress and customizing code for a while, this year I decided to really hunker down and focus on mastering PHP.

My ultimate goal is Zend PHP Certification.

JavaScript Courses


2017 will be my year to learn JavaScript deeply! I've already worked on:

  • jQuery + "vanilla" JS
  • React.js + Babble.js
  • D3.js (these charts)

My Favorite Lynda Teachers

This is a list of my favorite teachers in 2016 (based on how many of their courses I watched).

Courses taken per Lynda author

Notable New Skills

Beyond my primary focus on PHP and WordPress, I also put together a few small projects utilizing the following cool new (to me) bits of web tech:



D3.js Charts

  • Worked on numerous Codepens that utilize D3
  • Coded some Gists to run on and
  • Created the D3 charts on this site
    • " Authors" bar chart
    • "Life Categories" tree chart →
    • "Books Read" pie chart
    • "Life Satisfaction" radar chart

Books "Read"

I do most of my "reading" via the Audible app on my 1 hour work commute. But this year I also read my first book entirely in Korean: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

27 Time


That's 7 days 17 hours 45 mins!

Audiobooks Time


That's 1 week 3 days 20 hours 1 min!

Total Learning Time

2 weeks
4 days
13 hours
46 mins

My FIRST Theme!

JKL WordPress Theme

This is my FIRST theme! I submitted it in February and it was approved in November.

Contributions to GitHub

Jekkilekki's Github chart

Total Contributions


Jan 1, 2016 - Jan 1, 2017



21 *NEW* repositories

Longest streak

64 days

March 26 - May 28

These are a few of my Favorite Things

I've spent this second half of the last year learning more and more about these technologies, and it's been a blast. The last time I remember having such fun learning new technology was when I first began programming in WordPress back in 2012.

New WordPress Themes & Child Themes

Jinn Theme

A simple portfolio theme built with Sass and Foundation. It is based on Underscores Components and includes support for Jetpack Portfolio and Testimonial Post Types.

Visit repository

Covies Child Theme

This site was built as an upgrade from a Wix site one of my co-workers was running for a school he co-owns in the Philippines.

Visit repository

MarsX Child Theme

MarsX is an underground construction company (start-up) in Korea. This first design was something unique and "space-age" styled.

Visit repository

MarsXI Child Theme

Ultimately, MarsX wanted something simpler (more like SpaceX). This second design is a Child Theme of Automattic's TwentySeventeen.

Visit repository

Businesses Served


  • 3 non-profits
  • 4 startups (new businesses)
  • 4 schools
  • 1 individual
  • (and 2 rebrands!)

Logos Designed


  1. Winning Story (rebrand)
  2. Duet English (summer camp)
  3. Laon Hanok Cafe & Guesthouse
  4. MarsX (startup)
  5. AICF Christmas (non-profit)

Books Published


3 new English textbooks for Jeonju University (below):

Textbooks Designed & Published

  • 97 pages
  • 1 wk @ 20 hours: first draft
  • 15 hours: second draft
  • 84 pages
  • 1 wk @ 20 hours: first draft
  • 159 pages
  • 2 wks @ 40 hrs/wk

Rebranding Projects

GPA High School

In order to make the school's website more helpful for both prospective (English-speaking) students and parents, and current staff, I took archived content from our old WordPress site and combined it with the Teacher's Manual and additional English content we'd only been using internally. Now, I'm working on synching this version of the site with our current Google Apps for Education accounts and replacing the old English site with this one.

High School Yearbook

Previously, the Yearbook had been created entirely by an after-school activity program that met twice per week. That club used MS Publisher to create the Yearbook.

However, in Spring 2016, for the first time, Yearbook became a semester-long class. I led the students through an Intro to Graphic Design course and created the Yearbook in Adobe InDesign. This class was successful enough that it is being offered again for Spring 2017.

Rebrand Class

Another new course offering at GPA was called "Graphic Design" and offered in the Fall 2016 semester. Rather than rehashing what I'd previously taught in the Yearbook class, I decided to teach students the fundamentals of Graphic Design by choosing their own company to fully rebrand (logo, posters, wearables, and so on).

Whereas Yearbook focused primarily on Adobe InDesign, this Graphic Design course focused primarily on Adobe Illustrator. (GPA also offers a course on Photoshop, taught by the Art teacher.)

Winning Story Cafe

One of my friends in Jeonju who runs a Study Cafe asked me at the beginning of the year to help him rebrand his Cafe as they transitioned to a new location and business model. I wanted to update the logo and design style without straying too far from the original. This design is what I came up with.

High School Courses Taught

Although most of the new high school courses I taught this year were Graphic Design courses, I've also taught a number of programming and computer literacy courses over the years. Here's a complete list:

NEW Courses in 2016-17

  • Spring 2016: Yearbook (InDesign)
  • Fall 2016: Graphic Design (Illustrator)
  • Fall 2016: Robotics (Engineering/Physics/CAD)
  • Fall 2016: Middle School Tech (Computer Literacy)
  • Spring 2017: AP Computer Science Principles (PHP)

Courses Previously Taught

  • 2013-2015: Computer A (MS/Google Office)
  • 2013-2015: Computer B (HTML/CSS/JS/Bootstrap)
  • Spring 2015: AP Computer Science (Java)

Physical Health

KM Cycled


16km daily commute × 8 months. At my average speed (25kph), that's 160 hours on the bike!

Mental Health

Hours of Learning


That's 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours 46 mins! And it doesn't include the numerous podcasts I've listened to. Here are my favorites:

Spiritual Health

Personal Retreats


I like to take a personal retreat at least every Quarter to get away from the busy-ness of life, think, pray, and plan for the future. However, from late June last year, I failed to do so, and I feel it caused me to make some bad decisions toward the end of the year (because I was unclear in my purpose). I hope to recommit to taking this personal retreat seriously in 2017.

Career Success

New Tech Courses


Besides the number of Lynda courses completed and the number of projects I've had the pleasure to work on this year, I was also able to develop the curriculum and teach 3 entirely NEW Technology courses at high school. All told, I've taught a total of 8 different programming and graphic design courses since 2013.

Financial Success

Debt Paid (Debt FREE!)

$10,029. 21

My full student loan amount was $41,000 since 2011!
(But we actually paid $50,867.10 when interest is included.)


Classroom Hours (Wife's new job)


My wife has been privileged enough to have been contacted in the summer semester to teach a single Korean class to a group of Vietnamese students. Since then, she's continued teaching at Chonbuk University and has accrued over 400 hours of classroom Korean teaching experience! We're hoping that will continue in the next year!

Social Relationships

Hours with Friends


That's almost 1 hour per week outside normal commitments. It's quite an improvement over my previous 1 hour or less per month in 2015.


Overall Life Satisfaction

49. 375%

As you can see in the chart in the next section, although I'm not 100% satisfied with life (no one ever is), I'm much more content this year than previous years. (43.125% in 2015, 37.5% in 2014)

2016 Life Satisfaction in Review

At the end of every year, I take some time to reflection on my overall life satisfaction in various Categories to see what is working well and what needs improved. Here's a chart cataloging my previous 3 years of Life Reviews.


Lacking: slimming cardio

  1. (Korean) on the bike in the AM
  2. Off-season: until March
  3. 2 workouts/day: morn/afternoon
  4. 20 pullups, 50 pushups in a row


Lacking: Korean

  1. (Korean) on the bike in the AM
  2. Korean language partner
  3. 2 more Lynda Learning Paths
  4. 20 PHP, 20 JS Courses, 30 books
  5. Once/mth: "Mental space" day


Lacking: prayer

  1. Personal meditation @ 4/5am
  2. Prayer with wife @ 7am
  3. Prayer journal
  4. Open our house Fridays


Lacking: development job

  1. Speak at a Tech Conference
  2. Interview with 4+ companies
  3. Regular tech blogging
  4. Dec 2018: Transition


Lacking: new financial goals

  1. Save $10K in the bank (this year)
  2. Travel (Japan and/or America)
  3. Earn more
  4. Start allowance for kids (including iPad)


Lacking: set-aside time

  1. Give full attention after 7pm
  2. Patterns: Movie/game night, etc.
  3. Date my wife 1/wk
  4. Travel: 1/quarter out of the city


Lacking: Korean

  1. Open our house Fridays
  2. Korean language partner
  3. Give full attention after 7pm
  4. Network in the Tech space


Lacking: Freedom

  1. Blogging: 1/wk
  2. Coding: push code daily
  3. Websites: 1/mth checkups
  4. Say "No" to nearly everything

Computer Cerifications

This is something I've only started thinking about recently, but it's definitely something I'm strongly considering. The following are computer certifications I'm hoping to work on acquiring this year: