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Beginning my futures trading journey


I am just starting my trading journey and would like some pointers from the vast knowledge that is available from everybody in this community. I have been doing research for the past six months or so and just recently opened a Ninjatrader account to finally go live. The free version is quite limited and the “own” version is too pricey too unlock all the features for me. (Should have done more research i guess :slight_smile: )

First: Can anybody recommend trading software for a beginner? I’m leaning towards Sierra Charts. I’ve tried out a demo in the past and it’s very full featured, but has a learning curve ( I’m ok with that). Is there another platform that I should be looking at that would be a better fit for someone just starting out?

Second: Any recommendations for trading the overnight session? I have a full time day job and live on the west coast. I won’t be able to trade the day session. I will be able to trade from 4pm PST to 11 pm PST. I have been trading the NQ starting out, just wondering if there is any opinions about what market/s would be good for a beginner to get his feet wet while trying to develop a system and get the psychological side figured out.

Any and all input would be greatly appreciated.



Hello Ryan, and welcome to our Optimus Community. One of the reasons that we have established this site is to give people practical advice. This means that it may be advice that could be contrary to the intuitive way of thinking that many beginners traders think. But, it could put you on the path to becoming a trader faster and not being lost for years in the world of trading while looking for a method and technology.

It is rather regretful that you have some remorse about the brokerage you started with, but keep in mind that many futures trading customers “wander” at times and go through 4-5 brokers until they find the right brokerage, software and the terms they need. You have lots of options and you many choices, so take your times and explore what is right for you. There is no “perfect” solution or “the best” rather there is what fits you as a trader. It is not always a popular solution but the right solution.

So let’s try and find you a platform. We do Like Sierrachart as you suggested, but please tell us what specifically is important for you in a futures trading platform? Chart? Easy Trading? Any specific features? Try to find a futures trading platform that you need now, and remember that no solution is permanant. As you evolve your trading skills, you may explore new needs and explore other solutions.

As for the “beginner instrument”, so there is no such thing. Beginner traders should start with instruments that they feel comfortable with their volatility and leverage. Check how the instruments have moved daily and go back as far as you can on the daily charts. You may find that ZB is better than NQ, or that CL is better than ES for your purposes. The challenge of being a trader in Futures is exploring many things on your own because your risk tolerance and temperant may not be the same as others.

I hope this helps you and gives you a sense of direction.

Matt Z
Optimus Futures


As @Mod-MattZ pointed out, after many years in this business I would agree that there is a fine line between technology, psychology and the trading method.

In the past, I traded complicated strategies with asimple technology interface as well as very simple methods which got complicated because of the technology or platform learning curve etc…
This quest is a journey and what I heard or was told by some good traders many, many years ago didn’t sink in because I didn’t have the experiences at the time to be able to relate to the words of widsom.

I took the road of pursuing my own ideals and only after years of trial and error did I find out that what I believed in the beginning may be true.

What I’m saying is, that always go with your instinct and try to develop a methodology and create a quality control process of how long do you test an idea and how do you measure its performance before you test it in live trading but also know when to change it before your account gets endangered.
Basically - assume that you will blow up a few times. It’s a very solid approach to trading as a pro.

The old adages work, such as stick to your guns, know your risk but most importantly have realistic expectations and just realize that it takes many years (a decade+) to become a decent doctor/professional, so to master a field that is so intertwined with psychological warfare, be sure to keep it always in mind.
But then trading is the best but most difficult career I know of.

You mentioned “psychology” in your post, so you already know that you will be on the quest to learn and know thyself.

I went back and forth with hundreds of strategies or approaches in my career and not until time past that I realized that I now use a little bit of many pieces of all of the strategies to create my master approach to tackle the markets.
It’s the smallest details that sometimes make the huge change at the end.

When it comes to a brokerage, I found Optimus to be one of the most straightforward team in the business. They are truly built on broker and platform-agnostic frame. I believe you are in good hands but stay diligent, try to never rush your choices and good luck with your entry to this fascinating world of trading for a living.

Best Regards,

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Thank you for your kind words. You are a gift to this community!

You are a real trader it is well reflected in your advice. When I started trading I was focused on all the wrong elements, rather than just working and developing a strategy, I was busy with what everyone else did.
One thing that helped me was my love of history, social studies, and psychology. You see time and time how human nature behaves, and our interaction in the market is no different. If we were just to trade on “gut feeling” and no real method, our emotional cycle would look exactly like the chart below.

@hatry9999 I saw there was one inquiry in your question that I did not address. I see that you will trade some night sessions, so you could also look at the Emini Nikkei on the Osaka exchange. It’s a liquid stock index but ut trades and denominated in yen.

Matt Z
Optimus Futures


In regards to the night session, it may also pay off to find certain volatility drivers since most of the US session is quiet till Europe picks up.

I rarely trade on news but it s probably worth mentioning that Optimus offers a new News service called BetterTrader. (Thanks @Mod-MattZ)

I am testing it myself at this time but it made me think of your case and the need to find potentially tradable setups.

In addition to Emini Nikkei on the Osaka exchange and other European products, you could also trade currency futures such as:
6A Aussie dollar,
6B British Pound,
6C Canadian Dollar,
6E EuroDollar
6J Japanese Yen etc…

These are great futures alternatives to SpotFX.
Plenty of liquidity and you may find great setups with worthy follow-through (most importantly) so you don’t end up be the only few bidders only to then end up being the lonely seller at lower bids then you started at. (I’ve been there - making the market in thin instruments will cost ya :wink:).

So for example, with BetterTrader app one can find major news announcements across the world and one can trade the global currency futures to represent your bias.

See below.
News came out yesterday from Australia re: AUS jobs and employment figures
At 16:30 PST. (See attaChed Pic1).

Then see the /6A chart from there on (Pic 2).
It could be perfect for you. Clock out from your day job and trade the Aussie dollar 30 min after the closing bell in New York. Check put the big range and plenty of liquidity to work these trades IMHO.

Just a few ideas for you.

Happy Trading.

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Thanks @Mod-MattZ.
Its my pleasure to participate in a forum that is free of hype and empty claims.
Trading iS very hard on both buy- and sell-side.
I respect your effort to enlighten traders.


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Thank you for the mention @Project11
OptimusNews is powered by BetterTrader. We listed the features here:

Matt Z
Optimus Futures


Sorry for taking so long to reply, sometimes life gets busy, too busy. Thanks for the warm welcome Matt, and for creating this community, it is a great resource just in the short amount of time I have been around.

My journey has lead me to market depth/volume profile and learning/seeing how the internals of the market operate and what makes it move and how it moves. So that’s why I landed on Sierra Charts. Service pack 5 is the best value I could find that provides market depth and volume profile. SC seems very versatile, it gives you the ability/flexibility to do just about whatever you can think up. It appears to be the choice of a lot of knowledgeable and veteran traders. Not that it should matter what everyone else is using for my decision making, but it is an observation I have made none the less.

Thank you for sharing your insight, I appreciate it. I am taking it slow, I have learned in my time studying that there is no get rich quick, you have to put in the work or the market takes your money plain and simple. I will continue my journey of discovery.

Thanks for the suggestions guys, I have started watching these markets. I just checked out Optimus news, it looks like a great resource. I don’t have an account at Optimus (yet) but just from the trial version it looks like it can be a very valuable resource. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

@Project11 Thanks for the real world example of the news driven market move that I would be able to capitalize on with my work schedule, that is just what I was looking for when I started this thread. Not looking for someone to tell me how to trade or what to trade but just some ideas to point me in a general direction and get my gears turning and I’ll put in the study time. Thank you both so much for taking the time to help me out, it truly is appreciated.

@Mod-MattZ I am in the process of closing out my Ninjatrader account, when that’s finalized I’ll be reaching out to you to open up an account here. Quick question: if I wanted access to the NQ NKD 6A 6B 6C 6E and 6J what data feed/s would that require?


You are welcome, and we are glad we could be of help. The direction I am taking with this community is more on the practical side so you can get up and running. I hope to “cut” the cycle of issues that many beginner create in their head as obstacles.

Those markets would be over CQG. So we can do the Sierrachart solution over CQG.

Matt Z
Optimus Futures


@hatry9999 ,
I am glad to have shed a bit of light on your trading inquiries.

It is a true gem this community as @Mod-MattZ and his team is coming from the passion for the markets angle coupled with a hint of common sense.
That’s what attracted me to Optimus in the first place.

Happy Trading,

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