How To Learn Trading and Become a Professional Trader

Financial worker analyzing data displayed on computer screen
Become a Professional Trader. Tetra Images / Getty Images

Professional traders are created by learning about trading, and then by experience using the information that they have learned.

Learning trading can be a relatively straight-forward process, but it usually is not, because there is a vast amount of incorrect or misleading information available on the subject of trading. Sometimes new traders mistakenly believe some of the incorrect information, in which case they may never recover, and may never become a professional trader.

Sometimes new traders realize which is the good information and which should be avoided, and eventually become professional traders, but this can take months or even years.

So, what is the best (read as most efficient) method of learning trading and becoming a professional trader? The following is my recommended method of learning trading and is the method that is most likely to create a professional trader in the shortest amount of time.

Trading Basics

The first information that new traders should learn are the basics of trading. A good understanding of the basics of trading will provide the foundation that will support a trader's entire trading career and will enable efficient learning of trading's more advanced topics. The basics of trading include all of the factual information about trading such as, what trading actually is, the markets that can be traded, what contract specifications are, how buying and selling orders are placed, etc.

As the basics of trading are factual (i.e. the definition of a limit order is absolute), they are suitable for learning independently, and therefore can be learned from a variety of different sources (e.g. websites, books, etc.). The day trading website provides all of the information that is needed to learn the basics of trading (and the information is correct).

If you are a complete beginner, then I recommend that start with the definition of trading and continue from there. If you are already somewhat experienced, then I recommend that you start with topics such as trading orders (even if you think that you already know these topics, as you may have learned about them incorrectly).

Advanced Trading

Learning trading's more advanced topics is somewhat optional because the advanced topics tend to be specific to a particular type of trading, such as day trading the stock indices via the options and warrants markets. However, at some point, most traders need to learn at least some of trading's advanced topics, and having a good understanding of trading's basic topics will be necessary. Whether you want to learn some of trading's advanced topics because of necessity (e.g. you want to trade options, so you need to know what an options delta is), or because of interest (i.e. you want your knowledge of trading to be as complete as possible), the day trading website includes many advanced trading topics.

Trading Systems and Techniques

Learning a trading system or a trading technique is where learning trading becomes complicated, because what needs to be learned is no longer factual information, but rather an ability which can only be gained through experience.

For discretionary traders, the best method of learning a trading technique is to find a professional trader to teach you their trading technique. While most professional traders do not offer any trading instruction services, there are some professional traders that, for a variety of different reasons, do offer trading instruction services. Note that the best trading instruction will be from a professional trader that offers trading instruction as an adjunct to their trading because their primary source of income will be their trading rather than the instruction (i.e. be very wary of so-called professional traders whose primary source of income is providing trading instruction). If you are unable to find, or cannot afford, a professional trader to teach you their trading technique, then it is possible to learn a discretionary trading technique without any form of instruction, but the amount of time that is required will increase substantially (e.g. instead of a couple of weeks of instruction, it could take months or even years of trial and error), and the likelihood of success will decrease substantially.

For system traders, there are many trading systems available, but most of them either do not make a profit, or they only make a profit for a particular market, or they only make a profit for certain traders due to slight differences in how each trader trades the trading systems. It is possible to choose an already available trading system and trade it profitably, but only with significant knowledge and experience (i.e. a very good understanding of trading's basics, and many of trading's advanced topics as well, and the experience to know what is likely to be profitable).

Starting Learning Trading

So, to conclude as briefly as possible, the method of learning trading that is most likely to result in a successful trading career, is to learn the basics of trading from the day trading website, then to find a professional trader to teach you their discretionary trading style and technique, and then to learn some (or all) of the advanced topics of trading as necessary for your trading.