Getting Started with Automated Trading

Discussion in 'Automated Trading' started by ErikS, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. ErikS


    Hello and thanks for taking the time to read my post.

    First, a little about myself. I will be a senior at California State University Monterey Bay this next fall, and am studying economics and geographic information systems. My summer project, however is to try to learn as much as possible about automated trading strategies and systems. Currently, I am exploring MetaTrader 4, and the built in programming language MQL4 ( I have been reading the documentation as well as the book "Programming in Algorithmic Language MQL4" by Kovalyov to get the basics of the MQL4 language, as well as my first taste of programming. However, I am experiencing some difficulties; perhaps it is the sketchy Russian-English translation, or perhaps it is simply the fact that this is my first programming endeavor, but I am having difficulties applying programming concepts into my programs (if you can really call them that).

    I would appreciate it if some of the more experienced traders and programmers could provide me with some advice to help overcome these hurdles; any advice as to where a good place to get started with automated trading would be great. So, if you know of any good books to pick up, or another language to start with, or even another platform that might be helpful in getting me started in designing and programming systems, I would be very grateful.

    Cheers ,

  2. atonix


    Check out NinjaTrader. You can get a free demo / datafeed that you can test with before you start trading for real. Their NinjaScript is C# with their API. It's one of the most powerful platforms out there outside of running your own setup, and their backtesting feature is very powerful.

    C# is a C-type language, like MetaTrader's, and there's plenty of documentation on it (far more than what you're doing now).
  3. ErikS


    Thanks for the advice. I will actually be taking an intro C++ course this next fall at school. How different is C# from C++? Also, if you know of any good books to get jump started on the subject, that would be great.
  4. luchini


    hi....long time first time, just felt compelled to give a little advice

    C++ and C# are quite different; if you're going to take an introduction class take something in Java. While it is possible to do anything you need in any of those three languages, C++ differs from C# and Java in that its a hodgepodge of various programming paradigm. C# and Java are almost purely Object Oriented and they're much more widely used, although C++ is the language of choice for performance intensive systems still I believe.

    That being said the jump between C# and Java is minimal and mastering the language syntax will take hardly any time. My compilers teacher used to say it can take ten years before someone can claim to be a master in C++.

    Let me know if you want any more programming related advice...I'd be happy to help time permitting.

    I'm a year out of school with a degree in Computer Science; I'm currently working as a software engineer.
  5. ErikS


    Thanks for the advice. Actually, if you know of any good books or online resources that I can check out regarding C# and Java I would appreciate it. I looked on my course catalog and the C++ course is actually a prereq for the Java classes my school offers, so it looks like I will be stuck with the intro to C++...Again, thanks for your help.

    There is tons of stuff on the web.
  7. Learn C#, and use NinjaTrader. It is free as long as you don't trade live through it, so that alone will save you a lot of money over time. Since C# is a compiled language, it is very powerful. I would also recommend a sound foundation of statistics knowledge before getting into this - it will help you a lot. Reading a textbook or two should do it.

    The site below also has some reading for those getting into trading system development:

    btw, that link above is the site of openquant, another trading platform I've heard great things about. I did not really like their documentation though, so I stuck to NinjaTrader which has been great for me.
  8. ErikS


    Again, thanks for the responses! I will start digging through the NinjaTrader site and looking at the Java resources. The reason I asked for links and references on the web specifically is because there are so many different resources for learning a programming language- some better than others. If anyone knows of any particularly good ones, or resources that are geared towards trading, I'd appreciate the link.

    In regards to statistics...well math is not my strong point, but interestingly I did not have any issues with the introductory statistics course I took freshman year. I will be taking an advanced statistics and research methodology course this fall as required by my major, so hopefully the class will help me think of some new ways to look at and rationalize the massive amounts of data in the markets.

    Thanks again guys I know I am just starting out but this is all really helpful.

  9. Craig66


    I'll put another vote in for NinjaTrader, I was using MT4 but the lack of a debugger and many subtle traps often resulted in many hours of chasing my tail. The NinjaTrader/C# combo is like a breath of fresh air, their on-line support is about a million times more friendly as well.
  10. I need to get on this also, i know C++ basics but need to get a lot more advanced to program my system.

    Any others have any book recommendations?
    #10     Jun 24, 2008