programming experience

Discussion in 'Automated Trading' started by ballsofgold, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. hi Guys,
    i am the traditional discretionary trader (fundmantals and technicals)

    i am starting to get into programming bc i dont want to rely on a pogrammer to create automated strategies. I figure the cost for a programmer willl be the same as taking classes and learn for myself.

    I so far have found it relatively challenging, Its not hard but requires some time to really learn.

    I just want to get a feel for whether or not the traders on this forum actually program their own models or do you work with programmers to help you trade?
  2. I think you'll find it's all over the map.

    There are a ton of other elite-trader threads on this topic too, if you want past thoughts.
  3. At the risk of sounding like a dick, I think it's easier for a programmer to learn to trade than it is for a trader to learn to program.

    You said, "I figure the cost for a programmer willl be the same as taking classes and learn for myself." The thing you have to keep in mind is that you can probably learn the basics, but the years of experience that a professional has under his belt can't be acquired in a class or from a book.

    There are many, many pitfalls in programming that school doesn't teach. Guaranteed, you'll run into them so beware.

    The same can be said of trading with regard to pitfalls and years of learning and experience. :cool:

    Yes, I'm a programmer; no, I'm not trying to cover my profession's ass. I'm just trying to be honest with you.
  4. Casey30


    If you are a trader, there is an opportunity cost to learning to program. This can be thought of in many ways.

    You could be developing more trading ideas instead of learning to program.

    It is going to take time, if you have a system that may generate 2K a month, but you wait 12 months to program it yourself instead of paying a programmer 6K to do it, then you just cost yourself 18K. That is just one system and one year of system profits.

    Then there is no guarantee that you will even be a successful programer. If you are a successful trader you should concentrate on that and use any extra time you have on finding the best programmers available.

    just my thoughts. I am a trader, I work with programmers, I do not program.

  5. i appreciate your honesty and your thoughts are noted....

  6. yeah i hear your points....i already feel myself loosing my perspective on the market bc i am trying to learn all these codes. tks for the feedback.
  7. BallsofGold – I program my own models. I wrote my first commercial software in 1971. Many of the programming tools in that era were easier to use than the software of today. In short the trading industry flunks programming 101.This will continue to happen until Wall Street demands this industry begins to produce commercial products. Until this happens retail traders will have deal one on one with trading companies who hand use crumbs. Writing computer programs in today’s trading industry is much different than the commercial world. Most retail traders have no idea how restrictive this environment is for programming: Some of the basic things missing are:

    Debugging Tools – Commercial programs put the trading industry to shame. In commercial programs you can step through code in each line of a program and watch the variables change in value. The “abnormal program end” or “abend” dump does not exist in trading software.

    Testing environment – I still get sick to my stomach when I see what testing is like in this trading industry. One optimization and we risk all our money. Poor by any standard much less ANSI Standard Program Language Conventions - Every trading language has similar statements with often totally different meanings and execution. Many traders are forced to pick a trading language and stick with it because for the most part there is no portability of applications to another broker.

    Batch Trading Program Execution – Almost unheard of in this industry. This will not happen to retailer traders until they can store price data on their own PC in databases. Not likely – data providers take in too much revenue to turn over data to traders. Note there are a few batch applications but no where near what commercial software con do.

    Brokerage order execution – This drives every trader up the wall. There is little written about how a brokerage language is actually implemented with an Application Programming Interface. Some API’s are slippage machines.

    Selecting a trading language was until recently done backwards in the trading industry. The trader is forced to find and acceptable broker and then back into a trading language that efficiently handles their brokerage orders. We are just staring to see Application Programming Interfaces (API) that allows a computer language to be ported to multiple brokerages. An example of this is Tradestation Easy Language is available on Multicharts to trade now with brokers like IB.

    Another bone of contention is many trading languages have no brokerage interface what so ever. Signals must be ported manually to brokerage accounts. These languages beg the question “Is signal timing adequate so that slippage does not kill their trading signals?” Well that’s another story.

    These are just some of the factors that make it twice as hard for a discretionary trader to adapt and learn to program in today’s trading environment. It is hard enough to learn how to program. Traders should not have to “suffer” in an inadequate trading environment. Next time you look at the “flame’’ attached to many of posts in elite trader under brokers and software these and countless other issues surface.

    Well I’m sorry if I’m discouraging you from learning to program. That was not my intent. But I felt it would be better to give you some understanding of what retail traders face when trying to program in today’s retail trading environment.
  8. rosy2


    i would highly encourage you to learn to program. You dont have to be good which takes a very long time, but you can be productive with a dynamic language quickly.

    I think if you cannot program how can you test any ideas or research anything. You will always be at the mercy of those who can. And those guys will look at you and think you're useless. what can you offer them besides some trading idea that your not sure will work and hasnt been tested. Ideas are a dime a dozen.

    I spend my day programming and researching. and in the grey/black box world the "trader" is an expense.
  9. Rabbitone,

    tks for the post. I had purchased Openquant becuase i actually believed that this tool would have made the whole process of automated trading easier bc of its integration platform (backtesting, simulation and real-time API). The programming languages that Openquant requires are C# or ( I dont know which langauge is better but i understand both are supposed to be powerful)... i have started off with vba but i am not sure yet this is the language that i should learn.

    Would you be so kind to elaborate more on the resources that retail traders have versus the resources that professional trading shops have?

  10. You are right Rosy, as mentinoed above i am looking at learning c sharp or i guess that i have to enhance my excel skills as well!
    #10     Jan 27, 2009