Help getting started

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by alpha111, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. alpha111


    Hi, I'm a serial entrepreneur and recently decided to train myself as a day trader. I notice there is about a 6-month personal learning curve when it comes to a new field of study and I'm trying to cut that amount of time down as much as possible.

    I'm learning TA and reading charts, familiarizing myself with the lingo, following sites such as this and stocktwits to follow others advice.

    Here's my main question: I am using IB and don't like their software but can live with it. What is the best combination of broker/software for day trading? I am really interested in scalping, hft and algo trading as well.

    I'm currently looking at ninja trader as eSignal looks like too much for me to handle right now. Would I be fine w/ simply using ninjatrader/IB combo? I want to keep my approach simple and flexible.

    I have about $250k to work with. Any suggestions are highly appreciated.

  2. There is no course of instruction that anyone can give you.

    Nearly every trader follows the same path on his own.

    First you will learn about indicators and think they are the best thing ever. You will see all these instances where they would have been profitable. Then you will realize they don't work either alone or in any combination.

    Then you will look at other price pattern things like head and shoulders, cup and saucers, etc., and then you will realize those are no more reliable than indicators.

    Then you will get pissed and give up for a while.

    Then you will read about some other nonsense like Fibonacci levels or magic harmonics or whatever, but you will also realize that those don't seem to work in real time (although they sure look nice in hindsight!).

    Then you will hear about "price action" but you will struggle for years to even get a definition of what that means despite hearing traders who claim to be profitable talking about how they only use price action.

    You will encounter dozens of traders online who claim to be profitable yet never provide any proof and who also cannot give you direct answers to questions you may ask. They will also never make calls in real time, but they will be sure to post winning charts after the fact showing how they entered exactly at the bottom and sold exactly at the top! In the beginning you will see them as gurus, but eventually you will realize that 100% of them are just trolling people online and your BS detector will develop nicely as a result.

    You will develop your own ideas... you will develop your own indicators, they will work better than the commercial ones you learned about when you were a beginner, but they still won't be profitable over time.

    You will hear about things like grid trading and think holy crap... that is the holy grail... and then you will learn about the people who blew their account doing it.

    Somewhere along the line you will get the genius idea that all you have to do to make money is take a losing system and reverse the buy and sell signals. You'll have dollar signs in your eyes. And then you will test it and realize that the opposite of a losing system is quite often still a losing system. This will cause you much internal struggle as it will make no sense.

    Trading seems to be a field of stripping away what doesn't work. You must go through it yourself. I can tell you that I've backtested every commercialy available indicator and system in every possible combination and with every possible parameter and none of them is profitable, but you will not actually believe me when I tell you because you want to believe that something works. You must go through that path alone. It takes months/years before you are finally convinced that "nothing works" and once you finally realize that, THEN you have a framework in your mind for how to begin designing a system that may be profitable.

    If you make it that far, you have a chance to be successful. If not, you will be like every other person who is still searching for that holy grail indicator, falling for the hype, and wasting their money on "gurus" who don't teach them anything quantifiable and indicators that don't work, as well as watching their account shrink from losing trades.

    It's best if you use a practice account during these steps. Once you are consistently profitable for 3 months on a practice account, then you can start using a real account with small size. Beware, trading with a real account feels entirely different.

    Also, read the first post in this thread. It will potentially save you a lot of time and money:
  3. I use Tradestation 9.1 and really love it. It can do all that (except HFT, if you mean professional grade nanosecond false bids and scalps).
  4. Does TradeStation still charge $200/mo to use their software?
  5. They gave me the platform for free, just data fees. Use your magnetic personality with the sales rep and see what you can negotiate.


  6. Perhaps free regardless of trade frequency as part of a time sensitive promotion with an expiration date....

    Otherwise its about $ 160/mth for charts/radarscreen but one need only make a 2500 share round trip trade and then free for the month.
  7. danielc1


    Find a personal mentor you can trust. That is the fastest way to trading success imo...
  8. vinc


    can you tell 'relevant' help from 'irrelevant' ? i mean specific help - seems ok to ask here but asking for 'general' help -how to make it as a trader is pointless to say the least..
    you will get lots of clishes which you will spend your life testing..the amount of trash you will have to go through is beyond imagination of a budding trader :)
    ever heard of a trader that was successful after 6 months of learning?
    good luck..
  9. The learning curve for profitable trading is about 5 - 10 years under strict supervision by a master. You have the wrong conception. What exactly do you have in mind? Do you want to scalp, hold positions, follow trends? The answers should depend on that. If you are going to follow trends, you need no fancy platform and commission don't matter that much. If you are going to scalp, platform and commission is of paramount importance.

    These will get you no place and the probability to blow up is high. Stocktwits is full of snake oil and most do exactly the opposite of what they post.

    Everything depends on how old you are really. If you are above 45, become an investor, not a trader. You are entering a very hard field and the probability of you ever making it is less than 0.05%. That is, if you want an honest opinion because you do not sound sophisticated at all to me since you mentioned stocktwits and related bs.
  10. bone

    bone ET Sponsor

    Age has nothing to do with success in an electronic environment.

    I think that it is a fair point to give yourself some time and be patient in terms of a learning curve - doctors and plumbers are better with experience as well.

    Of course, the challenge with trading is that self-taught experience can be very expensive - and unfortunately it is true that most of your educator / mentor options are snake oil.
    #10     Jun 27, 2012