A Guide to Developing Algorithmic Trading Strategies in 2020

Trading is an excellent opportunity for one to make money. In fact, since the whole idea of day trading was introduced to ordinary people, the fact is that many people have quit their jobs to become day traders.

In the past, this was not possible because the software to execute the trades was not available. Additionally, the information was not available to retail traders.

Many people have made and lost money in equal measures. In fact, we recently heard a story of a 45 year old banker who resigned from a top job to day trade. He ran out of cash a few days after starting out (maybe because he didn’t have a strategy).

Similar stories have been told a lot in the past. Therefore, for you as a trader, it is very important to remain vigilant and to use viable strategies to avoid making these losses (other mistakes you have to avoid).

There are hundreds of strategies out there. These strategies have been tested and proven for a very long time. Therefore, as a trader, the idea is to find a few strategies and use them in different types of markets.

In this article, we will introduce you to algorithmic trading and highlight a few details about how to develop your own trading strategy.

What is algorithmic trading?

Algorithmic trading is a concept where you use different codes to align your technical indicators to that.

In the past, algorithmic trading was a preserve of people with a lot of coding experience and expertise. Today, anyone without all this knowledge is able to develop his algorithms and executing them using a simple drag and drop strategy.

Drag and dropping strategy is one where you take previously developed tools and dragging them in order.

After you have developed your algorithmic tools, you can deploy them to execute the trades when you are there and when you are not. You can also develop algorithms to automatically alert you once a particular market meets your trading expectations.

Auto Trading. Should You Give it Try?

Key components of trading algorithms

To develop good algorithmic trading strategies, a number of items are needed.

One, you need indicators. The whole idea is to act when certain criteria of technical indicators are met.

Day Trading Indicators

There are many technical indicators that you can use, However we recommend that you combine only a few indicators that you have mastered well in your trading experience. We recommend:

By having this set of indicators, you will be at the right direction.

Inputs, Variables, Maths features

These inputs are usually assigned to the other nodes to create an algorithm. There are usually four types of inputs available which include: string, integer, Boolean, and number.

Next, we have the variables. There are usually various corresponding variables for each data type. These data types are: Boolean, number, text, and date time. These variables will tell the algorithm what to do and when.

The next important aspects are mathematical features which include: +, -, and = among others.

Last but not least, the logic are very important. They include: And, and Or. For instance, you can direct the algorithm to open a buy trade when the RSI value is 29 and the Stochastics is at 28. Here, you can use both.

Backtesting

One of the most important aspect of developing tool to include in algorithmic trading strategies is setting the duration. For a day trader, it would be erroneous to use long-term values such as a 200 day moving average.

The fact is that it won’t tell you the right thing. Therefore, you should use short term durations in developing your programs.

After you have developed your Expert Advisor (another term for algotithms), the most important thing you should do is backtesting it. If you have not done this, you can be certain that you won’t succeed.

Backtesting gives you a chance to take your algo back in time and see how well it has performed. If you find that it has not done well, chances are that it won’t do that well in future, so you should avoid it.

Alternatively, you can recreate and backtest it until it works properly.

Starway to (trading) heaven

These are three steps that you don’t necessarily need to know, but they could give you an extra boost in creating your Algorithmic Trading Strategies.

First, you need to have the basic understanding of the technical, fundamental, and sentimental analysis. By having a good understanding about this, you will be at a better position to create your programs.

It is impossible to create these algorithms without having the knowledge on the three, because you can’t use properly the indicators we previously mentioned.

You should also do the best you can to learn about programming (the most ideal is Python). The language helps you incorporate mathematical formulas into your trading process much better than drag and drop.

Since this is a long-term goal, you should take your time to learn and understand the process. Fortunately, there are multiple free methods you can use to learn about Python. You can use websites like EDX, Coursera, and Udacity.

After learning all this, you should now use your understanding of the markets to develop quality models. These are models will be based on the technical and fundamental analysis.

As a beginner, the models will take time to create.

After creating the algorithms, you should test them for a few months. Applying the models without taking time to test them, as we just said, will be dangerous for you. This is because you want a model or algorithm that is responsive to various dimensions of the markets.

For example, when two data pieces are released at the same time, you want a model that will be responsive in the most profitable way.

Remember that no automated trading algorithm is ever perfect. Even the models created by the best mathematicians are often wrong.

Therefore, ensure that your models consider the risks associated with the financial asset.

Risk Management Strategies in Day Trading

External useful resources about Algorithmic Trading Strategies

  • Ultimate List of Automated Trading Strategies You Should Know (part 1) – Medium
  • Algorithmic Trading Strategies For Traders, Quantitative Trading – Algotrades

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