How to break into financial trading

If you’re interested in becoming a trader, there are several ways in which you can go about it. The first thing you need to understand is that it’s a profession, and to compete with the best you’ll have to get your skills up to a professional level, however, that doesn’t mean you need to follow a formal route. Part of what makes trading attractive is that there are options that can work for you regardless of your wider situation and at any stage in your life.

Education and skills

Whatever route you choose, you can’t go into trading without a certain amount of study. If you’re not prepared to put in the work required to learn your craft, you shouldn’t expect to be successful. That said, some kinds of trading require more education than others. For stock or commodities trading, it helps to have some in-depth knowledge of particular sectors, and the property market is similar. For any form of international trading you will need a good knowledge of history and current affairs. Forex, however, takes mere days to get to grips with, and you can learn the basics about CFDs equally quickly.

Working for an investment company

Traditionally, anyone who wanted a career in investment would go to work for an investment company. If you can get a good degree in a relevant subject it is still the best way to move quickly into a position where you can be confident of earning good money. The best route is usually through an internship with one of the major investment banks, but it’s also possible to work your way up from a lower level sales position. Doing some independent trading is a good way to demonstrate your skills and edge out the competition for these highly sought-after roles.

Setting up alone

Thanks to the internet, independent trading is now easier than ever. Two things are essential: having the right equipment and finding the right broker. A fast, well-maintained computer and a reliable broadband internet connection are essential. You’ll need to find a broker who is properly regulated, has a good reputation and offers trading platforms that you find easy and intuitive to use (something that’s different for each individual trader). You’ll also need diligence, good discipline and a commitment to continuing to learn as you go.

Trading as part of a team

If you can’t get or don’t fancy a company position but you’re not confident about going it alone, there’s also the option of connecting with a group of other traders and pooling resources: money, time spent on research and actual trading skill. Of course, you’ll have to share your profits, but you’ll also be splitting your losses, and as a beginner the chances are that good teamwork will allow you to do better than you could on your own. Trading forums are a great place to network to find the right group.

Whichever route into trading you take, you’ll have to be willing to make an effort – money won’t emerge from nowhere. With the right approach, however, you could achieve success regardless of your starting point.

Trent Boult
The writer of this article currently manages his own blog and is managing to do well by mixing online marketing and traditional marketing practices into one.