Skills to become a professional trader


Every trader, regardless of how discretionary they are, runs trading systems. The trader himself, might be unaware of the systems he is running, especially if his path of development has been through a long period of trial and error. If you think about it, being consistently profitable requires executing a trading edge over and over again without making mistakes. This process is closely similar to the production steps of any profitable product or service. It is an algorithm with clear steps for executing the trader’s edge. Anytime there is an algorithm for performing a complex task accurately, a system is in place.

Furthermore, almost every trader runs multiple systems because they usually do not just trade one signal or setup. Each strategy, signal, or setup requires its own set of rules for correct execution. Furthermore, the same strategy under different market conditions usually need a different set of rules or the same rules with slight alterations. This creates other systems that are in the same family but not quite similar.

Discretionary traders, price action traders, and semi-discretionary traders all organize their trading using systems. These systems are their mind and usually executed at a subconscious level, especially when the trading behavior has been formed during a long period while the trader was also gaining experience.

Systems experts can talk to traders and extract their trading algorithm and document it. It is quite easy to prove the trader is running systems because once you have the rules it is also possible to program a computer to mark charts with those signals.

Top 10 Trading Issues and Problems 

Beginner traders who are still not consistently profitable, usually do not yet have good systems to control their actions and behavior while trading. Here are the top issues that most traders face:
  • 1. Unpredictable performance
    Trader is not sure of his performance and does not see his trading as a reliable source of income
  • 2. Lack of a proven strategy to create safety and consistency
    Trader does not know the performance envelope of his strategy or does not have a reliable strategy or system
  • 3. High workload
    There is always more to do both during the trading session and outside of it, but more work does not result in higher cashflow
  • 4. Low productivity
    Despite spending a lot of time and buying books and courses, trader's productivity does not go up
  • 5. Psychological and emotional problems, issues, and barriers
    Emotions cause bad decisions and the trader is constantly grappling with them
  • 6. Low capital efficiency
    The trader is unable to fully utilize his capital, under-trading, infinitesimally small position size, and fear of ruin are the evident signs 
  • 7. Low or no diversification and inability to scale up
    Trader is short of time, capital, and support structures necessary for scaling up and risk diversification, which lead to many of the above issues
  • 8. Inability to delegate tasks and duties
    The trader is the "professional" who could not be substituted and as a result is always short of time and freedom to enjoy life
  • 9. Low or no automation or ineffective automation
    Most tasks are done manually with low or no computerization or automation, leading to task saturation, inefficient and high workloads, and low generally performance
  • 10. Lack of sustainable high performance over the long-term
    Trader experiences periods of boom and bust, but there is no long term above average performance to create safety and sustenance of income

Discretionary Traders

If you are a price action trader, semi-discretionary, or completely discretionary, please click on the link below to read my article on how to become a professional discretionary trader. 

Systematic Traders

If you are a systematic trader or are looking to become better in this domain and learn the thought process, methods, and processes professional systematic traders and institutions use to consistently generate good results, please click on the button below to go to our Systems Academy program page, where you will also find three free videos on this topic. 

Ali Moin-Afshari

Systematic Trader
Ali Moin-Afshari is the founder of Quant Systems and course creator of the Systems Academy program. He has had a successful +20-year career in IT and telecom, working as an architect, consultant, and founder of two IT companies. He began his trading career initially as a side business in 2007 and became a full time trader in 2014. He is a systems expert and has designed,  developed, and programed more than 200 trading systems.
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