What is MATLAB?

You’ll likely use various programming languages in your career as a data engineer or scientist. Although not as popular as Python or R, MATLAB can help you with deep learning and machine learning tasks in a future job, making it a valuable language to master.

But what is MATLAB, and how does it work? Get the answers to these questions below. Then learn how The Data Incubator can help you achieve your career goals with its interactive and immersive data engineering and science programs. 

MATLAB Meaning

MATLAB stands for Matrix Laboratory. That’s because its author, Clive Moler, designed MATLAB to be a matrix programming language, which allows numbers to be arranged in columns and rows. Like Python and Java, MATLAB is a type of fourth-generation programming language—commonly used for database programming and scripts. 

MATLAB is also a computer environment and a programming language. Users can access tools on MATLAB via a graphical user interface (GUI) and complete the following tasks:

  • Developing algorithms 
  • Modeling, prototyping, and simulation
  • Math and computation
  • Data analysis
  • Data visualization
  • Application development
  • Signal processing
  • Image processing


Released in the 1980s, MATLAB is still used by data engineers and scientists today. For example, a data scientist working for a lending company might use MATLAB for risk management. They can create statistical models and analyze data to see which potential lenders pose the least risk. 

What Do People Use MATLAB For?

As a language, MATLAB is useful for creating programs and expressing computational mathematics. As MATLAB relies on matrix math and array orientation, you can easily apply it to engineering and solve scientific problems. MATLAB’s unique uses make it different from general-purpose programming languages like Python, which lack specialized features. 

As a computer environment, MATLAB can solve various computing problems in a quicker timeframe than writing a program in a language such as C. That’s because it’s interactive and provides feedback to users. You might come across MATLAB in industries with advanced research and analysis such as computational biology and computational science. 

Now that you know the answer to the question, “What is MATLAB?,” it’s time to kick-start your data science career. The Data Incubator’s Data Science Bootcamp connects you with world-class instructors and real-world tools, helping you develop the skills you need. You will also develop a portfolio to show future employers. 

Pros of MATLAB

Here are some advantages of MATLAB:

  • As a language, MATLAB is easy to use, even on large prewritten programs. You can write and edit applications from its integrated development environment and identify and remove errors with the MATLAB debugger. 
  • MATLAB works across various computer systems, making it system independent. You can use the language on Linux, different versions of UNIX, Macintosh computers, and Windows 2000, XP and Vista.
  • As a computer environment, MATLAB performs matrix operations quickly and with ease. It can manage large data sets and code algorithms effectively. 


Now you can bridge the gap between data engineering and data science with The Data Incubator’s Data Science & Engineering Bootcamp. You’ll work with live datasets, experienced instructors and industry-specific tools. Get the skills you need to progress in your data science and engineering career.  

Cons of MATLAB

Here are a couple of disadvantages of using MATLAB:

  • Unlike many other programming languages, MATLAB is not open-source. It requires a commercial or academic license, making it difficult to master the language at home. 
  • MATLAB requires lots of computing resources and sufficient memory as a computer environment. Purchasing the equipment needed to run MATLAB can add to your costs.

What are you waiting for?

Want to take a deep dive into the data science skills you need to become a successful data scientist? The Data Incubator has got you covered with our immersive data science bootcamp.

Here are some of the programs we offer to help you turn your dreams into reality:

  • Data Science BootcampThis program provides you with an immersive, hands-on experience. It helps you learn in-demand skills so you can start your career in data science.
  • Data Engineering BootcampThis program helps you master the skills necessary to effortlessly maintain data, design better data models, and create data infrastructures.

We’re always here to guide you through your journey in data science. If you have any questions about the application process, consider contacting our admissions team.


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