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10 Steps To Becoming A Day Trader

10 Steps To Becoming A Day Trader

For some people, the world of stocks, trading, and high finance is an exciting prospect and a great career option. However, becoming a day trader isn’t for everyone. There are many things to consider before choosing this type of career. Here are 10 steps that you need to consider before you decide to break into this exciting field.

1. Know the Type of Trader You Want to Be

There are different types of traders, so you need to decide which is the best career choice for you. The options are flow traders (buying and selling for bank clients), proprietary traders (buying and selling for banks), and sales traders (work as go-betweens for clients and the market).

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2. Get an Education

In order to get hired as a day trader, you will need to have an educational background in business and finance. If you are choosing your university degree, and trading is interesting to you, look for degrees that involve business and finance.

3. Do an Honest Self-Assessment

In order to be a successful day trader, you need to have a particular mix of skills, knowledge, and personality traits. You also need to be committed to the lifestyle of a day trader. You need to have good math skills, an excellent background in finance, and understand behavioral psychology. You need to ask yourself if you are ready to work long hours, be constantly learning, take risks, and be totally committed to your career.

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4. Do an Internship

Companies are looking to hire day traders who are experienced. One of the best ways to gain experience is to work as an intern. You may even get lucky and find yourself a paid internship, but don’t pass on the non-paying ones. You may not get a salary, but you will earn valuable experience and knowledge. Another way to learn is to practice, and you can do this at BoilerRoomTrader. It’s a game which helps you to invest in real companies with fake cash.

5. Get Some Money

Before you can start working as a day trader, you need to have money.  Even though you will be working with other peoples’ money, there will be times when there are losses, and you have to cover those losses. You need to have working capital.

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6. Know the Markets

No matter how much education you have, you must be constantly learning because the markets change all the time. You need to know the markets and be able to anticipate changes. Even the simplest details, such as regular trading hours and what happens during holidays, need to be in your head at all times.

7. Pass the Test

Once you have your training, you need to pass a Series 57 certification exam. No matter how much knowledge and training you have, you can’t get a job until you pass this exam and become a licensed trader.

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8. Know What Securities to Trade

Different types of trading methods are used for stocks, options, mutual funds, futures, and ETF’s, and you need to understand each one in order to know which securities you should be trading. The less you know, the more problems you are going to end up running into.

9. Get a Charting Software and Trading Platform

Once you are ready to begin trading, you need to choose the best charting software and a trading platform. The software and platform must support your style and strategy, and not the other way around.

10. Get Your Office Set Up

Finally, all that is left to do is get your office set up so you are ready to work as a day trader. You will either be working at a firm’s physical location or from home. Either way, you need to have space to work, the right software, and a quality computer and monitor.

Featured photo credit: PIX1861 via pixabay.com

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Jane Hurst

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Last Updated on May 20, 2020

What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

Everybody makes bad decisions. Some people, however, are more capable of making better decisions that inch them closer to success.

These individuals are not ruled by emotions, desires, or hunches. Rather, they depend on their analytical skills to overcome challenges regardless of urgency or complexity.

What Are Analytical Skills?

According to Richards J. Heuer Jr., a former veteran of the CIA,[1]

“Thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can improve with practice. But unlike other skills, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing.”

Analytical skills can be considered as one of the critical life skills that are not taught in schools. It comprises of visualization, critical thinking, and abilities for gathering and processing information.

Here’s a closer look at some of these abilities:

Visualization

Also tied to a person’s creativity, visualization is the ability to predict the possible outcomes of strategies and actions. In a professional setting, visualization involves the analysis of data – often through illustrations like charts, graphs, and detailed lists.

Critical Thinking

Simply put, a person’s ability to think critically can be measured by his or her consistency in creating reasonable decisions. It pertains to the ability to evaluate information, siphon what’s useful, and draw conclusions without being swayed by emotions.

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As a critical thinker, you’ll find yourself challenging assertions and finding loopholes in proposed solutions.

Computing

Whether you like it or not, you need to be comfortable with numbers if you want to sharpen your analytical skills. Bear in mind that computing encompasses other skills like cost analysis, budgeting, and performing general calculations.

In business, you need to use computations when weighing the risks and benefits of any given strategy.

Problem-Solving

Remember that analytical skills are used not just to understand problems, but also to develop the most suitable course or courses of action. This relates to your goal-setting skills, which involve breaking down and prioritizing between objectives.

Resource Management

Lastly, analytical skills involve some degree of resource management depending on the task at hand.

For example, professionals with a tight schedule must know how to effectively manage their own time – also known as one of the most important resources in the world.

Business leaders, on the other hand, must know how to manage company resources, including cash and manpower. Take note that the definition of analytical skills may change to match the requirements of a specific situation.

For example, upon hiring a web developer, analytical skills may refer to the ability to determine the needs of online users, understand web analytics for optimization, and identify visual elements that can match a company’s brand.

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The skillset above, however, should be applicable in most if not all scenarios.

Develop Your Analytical Skills for More Growth Opportunities

There’s no question that the right decisions lead to positive results. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a business or simply trying to climb the corporate ladder. By training your analytical skills, you position yourself for more growth opportunities while staying away from negligible actions you will regret.

For example, you plan to launch a new startup in your local community – but struggle to decide the niche you want to enter. Since you’ve been a technophile your whole life, part of you desires to invest in a gadget store. If you’re passionate about your business, success will come – right?

If you have sharp analytical skills, you begin to see your plans in whole new dimensions.

What are the possible outcomes of this venture? Does the local market have a need for a new gadget store? How much do I need to get started – and how much should I sell to make a profit?

Depending on your findings, you can determine the feasibility of your business idea without letting your emotions get in the way.

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Analytical Skills

There are several approaches when it comes to developing an individual’s analytical skills. For instance, psychologists agree that reading fantasy stories as a child can help sharpen critical thinking.[2]

Research also suggests that undergoing traditional education has a positive effect on a person’s IQ and analytical skills.[3]

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But as an adult, such opportunities to hone your analytical skills no longer apply. That’s why you need to devise a more deliberate, active approach yourself.

Below are a few strategies to get you started:

1. Ideate Business Ideas

Developing a profitable business idea, whether you pursue them or not, involves numerous challenges. You need a ton of research, computations, and problem-solving to create a tangible business plan.

You can organize your ideas with a note-taking tool like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote. Doing so will allow you to delve deeper into your analysis, organize your findings, and stay focused on roadblocks as well as how to solve them.

2. Leverage Analytical Tools

Aside from note-taking tools, you can also leverage other software that can help with analytical tasks. A money management app like Mint, for example, makes it easy to track your spending habits as well as manage your budget with visual tools. When it comes to prioritizing goals, you can use simple task management apps like Trello or Wunderlist.

3. Have a Personal Learning Library

Thanks to the internet, there’s a colossal amount of resources you can utilize to learn new skills, expand your vocabulary, and train your visualization muscles.

Social media networks like SlideShare and YouTube, for example, offer mountains of tutorials you can access to your heart’s content.

For a personalized learning library, you can download Instagram videos or GIFs from educational accounts like NASA Goddard and the American Mathematical Society. But if you prefer specific, technical skills, then a good place to start would be online learning platforms like Coursera, edX, and Alison.

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4. Participate in Online Communities

The internet is a great place to share experiences, opinions, and sometimes intellectual discussions with like-minded individuals. Reddit, for example, has a place or “subreddit” dedicated for every topic imaginable – from technology to entrepreneurship.

For structured debates, you can head to websites like Debate.org and let other users choose the winner via votes.

5. Seek Mental Stimulation

To keep your mind sharp, make it a habit to engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as chess, puzzles, and brain training apps. A great resource would be Lumosity, which contains dozens of cognitive games designed by teams of scientists and game designers.

6. Keep a Personal Journal

Finally, keeping a personal journal allows you to take a second look at everything that happened in your day.

Remember that writing about learning experiences lets you focus on the lesson rather than the emotion. It will help you analyze how you made your decisions, why you came to certain conclusions, and what you can do to improve in the future.

Here’s How to Create a Habit of Writing in a Journal.

Bottom Line

As an adult, you are required to face a myriad of challenges on a daily basis. Work, school, business, relationships – the list goes on when it comes to the sources of life’s problems. With analytical skills, you can confront and overcome any obstacle standing between you and your goals.

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Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] M. S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences: Analytical Thinking?
[2] KD Novelties: Why You Should Read Classic Tales to Your Children
[3] Economic Inquiry: The Effect of Education on Cognitive Ability

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