I have traded prop futures for 5 years and was wondering what other viable alternatives really do exist for those wanting to break into the business. Seemingly this question is asked all the time in varying contexts so I though that I would kick-start a thread on this issue. My advice on prop shops is to look around and interview with as many as you can, ask to speak with recent recruits and explore other trading alternatives first to make sure that trading prop is really for you, e.g. some might suit options market making more say so should give futures a miss. I would say that for those who want to experiment a little you could try spread betting, with tiny amounts at risk. I would be interested to hear what other people think are alternative starting points in a trading career, and obviously I am talking about different choices for people who are not eligible to go for IB or hedge fund positions.