Hi, thanks for reading. First of all, here's a little bit about me. I live in Canada and I'm in my mid '30s. I have an engineering degree and am a self-employed programmer and database developer. I'm not independently wealthy and don't have money to throw away, but I do have a decent job and earning potential. I have a couple friends who have been day trading forex and futures for about 10 years now with, let's say, "mixed success". About 8 months ago I started to look more into what they were doing, and as a programmer it immediately appeared to me that that they shouldn't be sitting there staring at charts trading their algorithms, but should be programming them and shifting that work off to a computer, allowing them to be more productive. Since then I've become increasingly interested (obsessed?) in working with these individuals to produce an automated trading strategy that makes money. So far everything we've come up with hasn't been stable enough to run with real money. I have started off with a MetaTrader broker as that's all I know. I've written some programmes in Metatrader's MQL which is basically C for those of you who aren't familiar with it. I've quickly run into the limitations of this platform and have been in the planning phases of a system that looks eerily similar to TickZoom ( http://www.elitetrader.com/vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=148025 ) discussed extensively here. The question I can't really answer yet though is, is all of this worth it? Am I just "chasing the wind?" Is it reasonable to expect that I can see a return of the hundreds and hundreds of hours I've put into this, as well as the thousands more I'll have to put in? The farther in I get, the more I realize that this is a serious investment of time, and if I'm going to be successful at it I need to take it seriously. I have no problem taking this seriously. For example, I spent 5 years to get my engineering degree, so why should I expect to make thousands a month in the career after only a few months of effort? If I listen to anonymous internet experts (and here I am asking you), some will say it's possible to make money, and other's will say it's not. So my question is, is it possible, or reasonable for a "normal" person, to make enough pips per month in this market to be worth the effort? I understand the concepts of risk management and all that pretty well, but I can't answer the question of whether or not I'm able to compete against companies with thousands of programmers and hundreds of millions of dollars of assets ... companies that are bleeding money right now. Anyway, I've made this post long enough for now. I'd just really appreciate any directions or constructive criticism anyone might have. I have no problems spending months or years working on something if I get a payoff at the end that's significantly better than I'll make just working as a consultant with over a decade of experience in my field. Thanks a lot!