Whether you are studying trading on your own or in a commercial trading education class, there are essential tools that are a prerequisite for success. This article only scratches the surface of the many devices professional traders utilize, but it should get you off on the right foot in your quest to become a full-time trader. Preparation is crucial any time you step in front of the computer whether it is your first day of trading or your 20th year of trading. You just can’t be too prepared.
One of your foremost concerns will be the computer with which you choose to trade. Your six-year-old laptop computer with 2Gb of RAM will probably not be a good choice for trading. I have a distinct preference for desktop computers for my work. They are robust in comparison with their laptop counterpart and stand up over a period of time. Further, a desktop can utilize cross-firing graphics cards so you can expand the number of monitors you decide to use. I don’t want to jump the gun on monitors, which we will discuss later in this article. For your first trading computer, I would lean toward a business-oriented box and avoid the commercial variety computer that is loaded with all sorts of social media-oriented programs and multi-media programs. The more barebones the computer the better. These are the minimum specifications I would look for:
· Intel i5 or i7 processor or comparable AMD processor (I actually prefer to use AMD gaming chips in my computers)
· 8Gb of DDR3 RAM and 16Gb would be even better.
· A good quality motherboard, I prefer ASUS motherboards because they are workhorses and are relatively inexpensive in comparison to Intel. The point is to get a quality motherboard that will stand up to long hours of use
· I would put my OS on a solid-state drive and store data on at least a 500Gb physical drive.
· A high-quality graphics card, tho you don’t need anything near a $200 gaming card, just a good quality card. Most sound cards are on the motherboard and that is just fine.
· A good quality surge protection unit, and I don’t mean the little plug-in strips. I am talking about a surge protection unit that will actually protect your computer.
I prefer to trade on 4 monitors, but two monitors are sufficient to start with. Acer makes some great 21″ monitors and they are priced right. A second monitor allows you to look multiple time frames without having to switch a single screen back and forth.
I am a firm believer in carefully tracking your trades so you can review them and learn from past mistakes. There are several great commercially written spreadsheets available and which one you use is a matter of personal choice.
Finally, locate a nice quiet workspace where you can work uninterrupted. Trading takes tremendous concentration and interruptions generally cost money.
Proper preparation will mean one less detail you have to worry about when the trading gets hot and heavy, and you will have a computer set-up that you can count on. As always, best of luck in your trading.