How do I go about using my MATLAB knowledge and transfer that to real world applications?

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This question is for anyone who works extensively on MATLAB. I apologize in advance if this is not the place for this kind of question. First a little bit of background so you know where I am coming from.
I am a Mechancial Engineering Major with 2 years to go. I have already taken a introduction course to MATLAB this past school year. This Summer and for the foreseeable future I am working at an emissions testing lab and I really enjoy it! I have a lot of liberty to make improvements and share my ideas here.
I am in the process of diving deep into MATLAB I want to learn everything there is to know about this amazing software. So the question, at what point will I be able to use MATLAB on a day to day basis? To help with homework? Use it at the emissions lab? At home? I see all of these amazing examples here on MATLAB Central and I want to know whats the path or steps to get to that level where I start connecting the dots and start developing these abilities.
Like, "Ohh if I write this code this could automate this" or "This would take way less time if I could figure out how to display this". Sorry for not being more concise. Thanks for your time!
Brian Estrada
Brian Estrada on 30 Jul 2017
Adam thanks for your input I really appreciate it.
Per isakson, the lab currently doesn't use Matlab but I am free to incorporate it for data analysis or other possible applications if I wish. Software used Currently include Labview, and excel primarily. The lab is owned by the school but pretty much runs as it's own entity. So we do projects for both private and government. And I want to do my post doc here,and be a grad student who works on projects, writes papers, etc that's what I mean by foreseeable future. Thank you again for your time

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Accepted Answer

per isakson
per isakson on 2 Aug 2017
Edited: per isakson on 16 Aug 2017
MATLAB The Mathworks have developed the Matlab programming language significantly over the last decade. Opinions expressed on the Internet does not always apply to recent versions of Matlab.
"able to use MATLAB on a day to day basis?" An "introduction course to MATLAB" and then "learn by doing" as witnessed by @Adam is a typical path taken by many Matlab users. That is, users that are experts in their scientific/engineering fields and use Matlab as a tool. You need problems that are worth solving rather than tutorials.
"Use MATLAB at the emissions lab?" Search for a "low hanging fruit" at the lab; a simple tool that would solve a specific task at the lab. LabView is great for data acquisition and real time presentation of the data. Search for post-processing of data. Identify a couple of stakeholders, i.e. persons that would benefit from the tool. Make a simple description of the tool and ask for the stakeholders opinion. Honor their opinion. Make the simplest possible Matlab program, demonstrate it for the stakeholders and listen to their comments. Be aware that they have more important things to do. You don't want to lose them. Improve the tool or possibly start new from scratch. The goal is a tool that your stakeholders shall be able to use on a Monday morning when you are away. This exercise will learn you that stringing together Matlab statements is only part of making a tool. And despite Matlab that it takes much longer than you expected.
Software carpentry See Teaching basic lab skills for research computing. The Internet is full of great (and less great) stuff on "programming". There are some "mandatory" techniques you gradually should adapt
  • Distributed version control. I once chose Mercurial and later TortoiseHg, but now The Matworks have integrated Git in Matlab.
  • Unit testing. Start by watching this four minute video, Uncle Bob on TDD. Then read TDD: The Art of Fearless Programming (four pages). I've never come close to the speed of this "fail-pass-refactor" cycle, which Uncle Bob argues. But I have experienced the gains of "Fearless Programming".
"learn everything there is to know" I would argue for a somewhat different approach that is centered around real problems.
  • Make experiments with different solutions. Describe the result with a few word and save the result. I use Ms OneNote, because it takes both text and screen-clips and it has a strong search feature with integrated OCR.
  • Refactor: Improve the code.
  • Use the function profile
  • Use the on-line help frequently - there are always details you are not aware of.
And then there are simulation and Simulink.
EDIT - 2017-08-16

More Answers (1)

Akhilesh Thakur
Akhilesh Thakur on 27 Jul 2017
Edited: per isakson on 28 Jul 2017
So which applications are you focused into?. Yes you can use MATLAB for your desired applications. You can improve your MATLAB knowledge by going on to these links,
If you don't understand something just type doc and the name of matlab command. For eg doc plot. The MATLAB is a superb tool that will directly lead to documentation with sample programs.


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