Sam Archer spotlight

Sweet Music

photo:: sam archer

Sam Archer

Sam Archer is accustomed to creating fluid rhythms as a member of the UCI Pep Band, a trait he has carried over to the class room.

“Being around computers as much as I was, I got to be fairly good at solving problems with them,” Archer said. “I really enjoyed working with computers, and fixing them for friends and family members turned me on to computer science as a career.”

Despite its unfamiliar name and fledgling beginnings, the Mission Viejo native was excited about being part of the inaugural Informatics class.

“The major sounded much more along the lines of what I would enjoy doing; more design and critical thinking, slightly less programming, and this was a large part of my motivation for going into the major,” Archer said. “Secondly, Informatics is still a relatively new field, and to have received an education and degree in it will open a lot of doors for careers in the future.”

The Informatics major covers the design, implementation, use and impact of information technology.

Compared to traditional computer science, which primarily focuses on the internal features of computer systems, Informatics is also concerned with computer systems and their surrounding context -- the people and organizations that use them and the problems they need to solve.

It was the major’s focus on both people and technology that provided the strongest draw for Archer.

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“I enjoy coding and it is rewarding to see a piece of software you've built come to life, but I wanted to spend my life doing something slightly more tangible and creative,” Archer said. “The Informatics major has more focus on fulfilling customers needs, and high-level design, which as a career I think I will enjoy.”


With graduation a year away Archer is focusing on life after college, one he hopes will entail a job with responsibilities that lie somewhere between customers and developers solving problems on a design level.

Archer credits his Informatics classes for providing him the skills he will need to achieve his career goals.

“I had no practical programming experience prior to starting the Informatics program,” Archer said. “The program is definitely set up to teach anyone without programming experience how to program. There's very little hand-holding though, so you'll need to be willing to learn a little bit on your own.”

Archer also credits the Informatics major with teaching him how to learn, a trait which will be extremely beneficial in the technology field where changes come so quickly that the specific technology students learn will probably be obsolete by the time they graduate.

For Archer, changing to meet the needs of an ever changing technology field will be as easy as moving his fingers to a different valve on his Tuba.

- Eric Kowalik