Reader Eli asked in the comments "I used to program in Matlab a lot in the past. Now I feel that Python is a better way to go. Any thoughts?
Yes, quite a few - however I also hope to hear some ideas from other readers. Matlab is an excellent tool for analytics, and I have been using it for over a decade now. However if I were starting out in quantitative finance today I would probably go with Python. The main reason: Python is more popular - and bigger community means more ideas being exchanged, and potentially more job prospects. I get calls from recruiters telling me that quite a few banks have switched to Python as their main analytics tool.
However I am not ditching Matlab just yet. In my experience, Python is still much slower, more bloated, not as well documented as Matlab. Matlab is the Ferrari, where Python is basic Ford. The firm were I work pays for the license, for which I am immensely grateful!
The real question is, what's next? Matlab is not cheap, and it is important to stay on top of the latest tools. I suspect that Python will continue growing in popularity over Matlab.
But I think there are more interesting tools in development:
1 - Julia
2 - F# programming language. In particular I have been experimenting with FCore linear algebra library as stand-in for Matlab. Not all Matlab features are implemented, but basic support for logical indexing exists, and I was able to add simple custom functions to fill in whatever functionality I needed. Regression tools seem better that other .net linear algebra packages. I hope to write more about this in the future posts.
What tools are you using? Please share in the comments!