Computer programming is a fundamental requirement when applying many theoretical concepts of engineering in practice, even in non-computer-engineering areas. Unfortunately, the hardware devices used in the engineering work are rarely standardized in their programming frameworks; it is therefore very common that we need to provide background to the students of engineering courses on several programming languages and environments, which often consumes an important part of the time of a subject during the semester and is not directly related to the syllabus. Here we address this problem by concentrating all the programming required for this kind of subjects on Matlab®. We describe how we have established this software as a common and single prototyping workbench in some subjects for producing, quickly and easily, algorithms that manage a number of different hardware devices in the lab, and to analyse the data obtained from the lab experiments with the powerful tools already included in its scientific toolboxes, eliminating the need of changing from one environment to another at any phase of the exercise. This has optimized the learning curve and concentrated the limited lab time on the really important topics of our subjects, requiring a reasonable effort from the professor if he or she is an expert programmer.