Cole leads a small, vocal minority of the Vault 13 population, advocating emergence into the outside world. He is a charismatic, talented negotiator who can often convince others to his ideas or broker a compromise. Before the War, he would most likely be a very successful lawyer.
Albert is intended for a diplomatic approach, complementing the combative and stealthy characters.
Behind the scenes
The name Albert is likely taken from A Boy and His Dog. Blood, the titular psychic canine, uses the name to refer to the titular boy in spite of the fact that's not his real name. The tradition would continue somewhat with the third main release in the series, when the film was screened at A Post-Apocalyptic Film Festival, promoting the release of Fallout 3. The preview name of Lone Wanderer was also Albert.
Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscure references the series with a small side quest at Tulla, where Albert is a mage sent out to retrieve a water gem for the desert community. Unfortunately, he is denied access due to his perceived corruption by the outside world and technology. Remember: Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky worked on Arcanum.
Face of the Vault Dweller in 2161. Note the resemblance to Albert Cole.