Should I go with Matlab course, or Engineers Intro to Programming?

Thread Starter


Joined Jun 9, 2018
I am about to decide my only programming course soon, and I can choose between Marlab and C/C++ course.

I would love to work in the low level hardware programming, and hopefully some circuit design.

Is Matlab relevant for my job ambition?


Joined Jun 5, 2013
Matlab is not something that would end up in a device, it is for use by the engineer as a design tool. C, on the other hand, is used for programming even tiny devices using microcontrollers. I think this would be more useful to you. Why can’t you do boy, they have very different purposes.


Thread Starter


Joined Jun 9, 2018
My main issue is that I have no ide what Matlab is for.

I could probably take both, I just dont know what an EE uses Matlab for.


Joined Jul 24, 2018
MATLAB (or similar programs like R, Octave, Julia, or some 3rd-party Python libraries) is frequently used for data analysis and processing, system modeling, quick calculations, etc. Basically, anything you could use Microsoft Excel for, MATLAB can probably do better, faster, and easier. If you do research, it's also pretty good to provide mathematical predictions or numerical simulations of certain things. I use it for this purpose (I do research and present and process my data and simulations using MATLAB), as well as the data processing. It's phenomenally good at doing anything with matrices (which makes sense, considering MATLAB stands for "matrix laboratory.")

Basically, if you need to do lots of math, plot stuff, make mathematical/system-level simulations or calculations (based on system equations rather than building a circuit in a SPICE-based simulator), or otherwise process/analyze and present data, MATLAB (or similar programs/programming languages) will be your friend (and, in my opinion, is far superior to Excel). If you have no intent on doing that, and instead want to work more with embedded systems like microprocessors, then C/C++ will be your friend. MATLAB can do those, too (in fact, there are toolboxes Mathworks provides to do embedded MATLAB or compiled-to-C++ MATLAB code, and even HDLs like Verilog or VHDL), but it's not nearly as efficient at it (MATLAB code has to be compiled to equivalent C/C++/VHDL/Verilog code, which may or may not be optimized).

Personally, I'd recommend you learn both at some point, but which you focus on depends on what you want to do, ultimately. C/C++ may be more prudent to focus on first, though.


Joined Oct 2, 2009
C and MATLAB are two completely different things. I would do both.

C is for writing programs. It is used for programming MCU chips. It is also use for programming PC apps.

Think of MATLAB as a very sophisticated calculator and Excel combined. And it can do so much more.
You can use MATLAB to create an app that interfaces with hardware, collected data, analyze data, create 2-D and 3-D visualization of the data, send back control commands back to the hardware, etc. It is difficult to conceive of anything that MATLAB cannot do. It can do hardware/software simulation and also allow you to develop and debug MCU code.

MATLAB code is similar to C but not the same. If you learn C you can program in MATLAB.

Thread Starter


Joined Jun 9, 2018
Thank you all for these inputs.

I think I will just go with (and embrace!) the Matlab course. I believe that if I don't, I will never have another chance of getting to try it, while playing with microcontrollers and C will probably be more required of me for the jobs I plan to seek.