Bradley Carlson

Driven toward a goal

Major: B.S. Informatics

Cognate: Business

When Bradley Carlson hears a song he likes, he becomes driven.

The Carmel, Indiana, native has been playing the guitar for years, but he isn’t one of those guys who wants to write his own music. He’s happy to let others handle the songwriting, but Carlson loves to figure out how to play a song.

“I just keep practicing until I get it perfect,” Carlson says. “I’m a really goal-driven person. If I get an idea in my head, I really work hard to make that idea a reality.”

The junior Informatics major uses the same approach to his studies.

“I like solving problems,” Carlson says. “With my coding assignments that are supposed to result in a certain outcome, I get a rush from trying to figure out the best way to solve that problem. I analyze it and work hard to implement it and get it to my standard. I want every detail to be exactly how I envision it.”

He long envisioned himself at IU. While going through the process of choosing a school, Carlson checked out other places but never really doubted he would end up in Bloomington. He had long heard stories about IU from his father, who told his son that Indiana provided a great experience that could mold his life and career. Carlson was happy to follow in his father’s footsteps down to Bloomington, and dear old dad was ready with some advice when it came time to pick a major.

“I always assumed I would be a business major when I came here because that’s what my father does,” Carlson says. “He is involved in the Indianapolis tech start-up scene, and he had heard from friends and co-workers about how strong the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering is at IU. I wanted flexibility and I wanted to have options. By studying informatics, you can learn so many skills that are applicable to any field. You learn tech skills that can apply to so many areas.”

Carlson, who is pursuing a cognate in business, quickly found a home at SICE. He was impressed with the way the faculty and staff took him under their collective wing, and that has provided him with the support system needed when he needed help in and out of the classroom.

“I noticed right away when I started at SICE that everyone really cared,” Carlson says. “It was weird to sit in an office with an adult who really listened to you and wanted you to succeed. Some of the staff here have been mentors to me, and it almost feels like I have a second parent looking out for me. I love it.”

Carlson has been active in student organizations, including the Informatics and Computing Consulting Association and Serve IT, and he has dreams of becoming a consultant. His first stop will be an internship with Grant Thornton, the Chicago-based independent audit, tax, and advisory firm, where he will get an opportunity to test his skills.

“I’ve heard about people who consult for a couple of years before branching off on their own, and I would love to do that,” Carlson says. “I like working in teams, and that’s what consulting work really is. It also will give me a chance to travel, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Above all else, pursuing a degree in informatics is providing Carlson with the freedom he desires to explore innovative ways to problem-solve.

“There’s a fit for everyone at SICE,” Carlson says. “People from consultants to coders to engineers or software developers can focus on developing their ideas. There’s just so much freedom in informatics. People will take an interest in you and help you realize your full potential. That’s what I love.”