What Do I Need To Get Started As A Trader?

Becoming a trader:

It’s one of the questions that we’re frequently asked.

  • “I’m looking at trading courses online, so what do I need to get started?”
  • “Forex trading, can anyone do it?”

For those looking to start trading the markets – either full time, or alongside their current job, here are some hints and tips about getting started the right way.

This comes from over a decade of personal experience in this industry.  I certainly made every mistake in the book when starting out, so here’s hoping you can avoid the traps, setbacks and costs of errors and misjudgements.

It’s easy to start; in fact so easy that many individuals get drawn in without really realising it.  What starts as a casual browse on YouTube can quickly turn into following a few channels and learning trading lessons online.  Sounds good, but is that free advice worth it?  In my opinion, this is where bad trading habits are picked up.  I recommend that you avoid getting sucked in by any social media celebrities, and start learning the RIGHT WAY from experts in trading.  A few moments of consideration and planning at this stage could save you a small fortune.

Give yourself the very best chance at succeeding at trading the markets.  Here’s how to get off on the right foot:

Prior to starting any learning, your due diligence should include:

  • Checking that you are learning from a reputable teacher with the relevant qualifications
  • Checking that you are learning from an experienced trader
  • Does your trader education provider have an excellent track record, substance and resources as well as an excellent reputation
  • Considering whether you are right for trading, and whether trading is right for you
  • Considering that all trading involves risk, as well as opportunity
  • Considering what type of learner you are
  • Deciding how much time you’ve got available for trading and learning

What you’ll need initially:

  1. An internet connection
  2. A laptop or PC (suitable for watching videos, webinars etc)
  3. Some time each week to watch videos, participate in webinars etc
  4. Trader education – the foundations

This is enough to start your learning path.  You might not be placing trades, but you’ll be laying the foundation and getting to grips with the basic principles, language and basic strategies.

There’s no need to “go large” straight away, in fact a lot of our students start learning whilst in employment.  My advice, take it steady. Once you’re ready to move ahead, you’ll need some more pieces of the puzzle in place…

What you’ll need as you get serious, and to start placing trades:

  1. A laptop or PC with no less than 8GB RAM, I5 Intel processor, and a Nvidia graphics card.  (see appendix below for further details)
  2. A brokerage account, to include a demo facility whilst you learn
  3. Good internet access of a speed no less than 17 mb/s, (and you should consider a back up internet connection)
  4. Adequate funds to trade with
  5. A chart package such as Pro Real Time, MT4 or Tradestation;
  6. Mobile phone to participate in online support groups
  7. Further trader education (strategies, trading plan etc)

Think of it like starting a new business.  You’ll need the tools to do the job, and training to learn to use them properly.  Then, practice makes perfect.

Like a gym membership, you don’t get fit by paying a subscription each month.  You now need to get in that gym and start exercising.  Trading is certainly not a get rich quick scheme, and you can expect the work to start once you sign up.

There is an additional factor which I believe is of paramount importance when learning to trade the markets – the support.  As well as the education, it’s the support that makes the difference.  That team around you, willing you to do well.  People keeping you on track and helping you overcome those personal barriers.

These are the practical requirements – and there is also the emotional requirement to fulfill.  A commonly overlooked requirement is the ability to control your emotions.  Trading is all about following the rules, keeping a cool head, remaining calm under pressure, remaining objective.  These skills too can be learned from the right teacher.

A decent education provider doesn’t just hand you the tools and leave you to get on with it.  With the key elements in place, the right tools for the job, quality education and a support network, you’ll be giving yourself the very best chance of success.  Wishing you every success in your trading career….

Lee Sandford, MSTA

Sign up for our free Learn to Trade live course today here

Equipment Appendix:

You will need to choose your laptop or PC carefully, but these options may provide you with some food for thought.  As of June 2019, these prices are correct.  We offer these suggestions as a guide only, and you must take responsibility for your own purchase, ensuring it is fit for your needs.

Entry Level (£400 – £600):




Intermediate (£700 – £800):



Top end (£1000+):



What next?

Lee is qualified at The Society of Technical Analysts, having passed his MSTA and CFTe with flying colours.  To see Lee and our coaches use technical analysis, you can access our Live Trading Room 5 days a week. If you’re looking to step into the world of online trading, we’d like to help. We offer both courses and mentoring opportunities to help you trade with skill and confidence. Come along to our free Learn to Trade Live one-day course to really get your foot in the door! See here for more details and to find a date near you.

Further Reading: