Is Algorithmic Forex Trading For You? - Investing Shortcuts

Is Algorithmic Forex Trading For You?

By March 7, 2018Forex

Just because you can trade Forex through algorithmic trading strategies in the retail sector, doesn’t mean that algorithmic trading is suitable for everyone. Before you start trading, here are some attributes every algorithmic trader thinks they should have. Also, we’ll talk about some attributes that are often connected to algorithmic trading, but in reality are not needed.

Knowledge of Forex

It is possible to start algorithmic trading without any knowledge of Forex, and I have had a few students in my courses with no Forex background. If you are a newcomer to Forex, you need to count on the fact that the whole process will take you longer. It’s the same as if you are starting to trade Forex discretionarily. You need to learn how markets and strategies work. Also, once you become more skilled, traders can use their own ideas to program the strategies. At this point Forex, knowledge is needed. If you don’t know anything about Forex, it’s possible to start both Forex and algorithmic trading courses simultaneously to save time.

Programming Skills

The majority of those who hear about algorithmic trading for the first time think that it’s an advanced field of trading, where complicated mathematical and programming skills are required. Although it’s still possible to program your algorithmic strategies manually, today´s software solutions offer much easier ways. The process is more similar to a computer game, where we can play with any kind of desired parameters without the need to understand how to program it. This is one of the biggest trends that has occurred in the last few years. Personally, I am not a programmer and I only trade Forex with algorithm strategies.

Mathematical Skills

Algorithms help us to solve problems mathematically. In the case of modern algorithmic trading software, we don’t need to understand how algorithms are made or calculated. We don’t need to know what ‘machine learning’ or ‘genetic evolution’ means, while at the same time using those processes through modern trading software. Here, we notice the same advantages as in point number two.

Determination and Endurance

Although modern algorithmic trading software facilitates Forex trading, we still need to maintain some human qualities – determination and endurance. This is something we need to understand before we start to develop our own algorithmic strategies. The whole concept of algorithmic trading brings many important benefits. One of them is that we need to dedicate significantly less of our time to trading. In other words, we don’t need to sit in front of the computer and wait for a trading opportunity, or trade when we come back from work when there is not enough volatility. Nevertheless, we still need to constantly dedicate time to developing the strategy, back tests and optimization. This will take us several hours a week. It’s possible to do during weekends or after work but it must be carried out consistently.

A Powerful Computer

It is also possible to develop strategies on a standard PC, but we need to bear in mind that many back tests and optimizations run for many hours -often overnight- and therefore, a powerful PC helps us to get results much faster. There are, of course, many programs on the market and it’s hard to suggest general minimum hardware requirements for Forex algorithmic trading software(personally, I am using StrategyQuant), but in my experience I would say that the minimum requirements to run such programs are aDual core – i3, 8 GB of RAM and 20 GB of free hard disk space. For algorithmic programs, the RAM size is important, so don’t underestimate it.


As we have seen, today´s algorithmic trading brings many important benefits and it’s no longer only the domain of programmers or mathematicians. However, no one can expect that it’s enough to install a program and start cashing in. As with any kind of business, determination to succeed in the long term is a must.


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Zdenek Zanka

Author Zdenek Zanka

Zdenek has been working in the financial markets since 2006. He started with futures and Forex, and worked for various banks and leading brokerage companies. Since 2013, he has focused mainly on algorithmic trading. Now, besides his own trading activity, he provides education in algorithmic trading worldwide. Courses based on his methods are currently available in 5 languages and have more than 20,000 students from 95 countries. He is the CEO of the financial educational portal

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