Whether you are learning trading on your own or in a commercial trading class, there are important tools that are a prerequisite for success. This article only scratches the surface of many of the devices that professional traders use, but should help you get on the right foot in your quest to become a full-time trader. Preparation is critical every time you stand in front of your computer, whether it’s your first day of trading or your 20th year of trading. You just can’t be too prepared.
One of your main concerns will be the computer you decide to trade with. Your 6 year old laptop with 2GB of RAM probably won’t be a good choice for the trade. I prefer desktop computers in my work. They are durable compared to their laptops and will last for a long time. Also, a desktop computer can use crossover graphics cards, so you can increase the number of monitors you choose to use. I don’t want to neglect monitors, which we’ll talk about later in this article. As for your first trading computer, I would lean towards the business-oriented box and avoid commercial computers loaded with all sorts of social media and multimedia programs. The more barebones on the computer, the better. Here are the minimum specs I would be looking for:
Intel i5 or i7 processor or comparable AMD processor (in fact, I prefer to use AMD gaming chips on my computers)
8GB DDR3 RAM and 16GB would be even better.
· Motherboards of good quality, I prefer ASUS motherboards because they are workhorses and relatively inexpensive compared to Intel. The point is to get a quality motherboard that can withstand hours of use.
· I would put my OS on a solid state drive and store the data on at least a 500GB physical disk.
High quality graphics card, although you don’t need something like a $ 200 gaming card, just a good quality card. Most sound cards are found on the motherboard, and that’s okay.
Good quality surge protector, and I don’t mean little plug-in strips. I’m talking about a surge protector that will really protect your computer.
I prefer to trade on 4 monitors, but two are enough to start. Acer makes excellent 21-inch monitors at a reasonable price. The second monitor allows you to view multiple time frames without having to switch one screen forward and backward.
I strongly believe in carefully tracking your trades so that you can review them and learn from past mistakes. There are several excellent commercial spreadsheets available, and which one you use is a matter of personal choice.
Finally, find a nice, quiet workspace where you can work without interruption. Trading requires tremendous concentration, and business interruptions usually cost money.
Getting it right will mean one less detail to worry about when the trade gets hot and tough and you have a computer you can count on. As always, good luck with your trading.