How to Become a Trading Analyst (With a List of Steps)

Updated May 23, 2023

People with strong analytical skills who enjoy working with numbers may want to consider becoming a trade or trading analyst. This job involves analyzing the stock market to offer businesses or individual clients advice on which stocks to buy and sell. Learning about these analysts' duties can help you decide if this job suits your skills and career goals. In this article we explain what these analysts do, review how to become one, and discuss which skills to develop.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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What is a trading analyst?

A trading analyst's job involves maintaining client investment portfolios by evaluating the stock market and other financial data to advise them on what stocks to buy and sell. These analysts often make several phone calls and send numerous e-mails throughout the day as they process transactions.

This job also involves creating business plans and forecasts, staying current with changing government regulations, and assessing company data, such as customer and sales numbers. Additionally, these analysts conduct research to understand financial trends. While each position differs, trade analysts often earn sales-based commissions on the trades they execute. Their specific duties may vary depending on their employer, but here's a list of common duties trade analysts perform:

  • create spreadsheets to document market insights and trades

  • negotiate contracts with clients

  • work with insurance brokers to ensure the company has adequate insurance

  • research the market and provide data-informed advice

  • collaborate and communicate with clients on how to increase the value of their portfolio

  • assess trade transactions for a business or individual client

  • engage in swap pricing, trade booking, and reconciliation

  • conduct asset evaluation

  • perform equities trades

  • predict the economic impact of new legislation

  • assess data to create predictions for consumer demand for various products

Related: In-Demand Careers in Trading and Finance (With Skills and Duties)

How to become a trade analyst

If you want to become a trade analyst, here's a list of steps you can follow:

1. Complete your high school education

To pursue this career, the typical first step is to complete your high school education. Try to earn high grades and consider taking classes to help you prepare for your post-secondary education and career. For instance, consider classes in subjects, such as mathematics and business. These classes can help you develop relevant skills like analysis and knowledge of statistics.

2. Pursue a degree

Most employers require their candidates to have a relevant bachelor's degree. Strong degrees to pursue include math, finance, or economics. Consider taking part in an internship if your program offers them, as this experience can help you learn valuable industry skills and prepare you for the job once you graduate.

While a master's degree may be optional for many employers, it can improve your competitiveness as a candidate. Consider a degree such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA). A graduate degree can also help you progress to higher-paying or managerial positions more quickly.

Related: What Is a Post-Secondary Degree? (With a List of Types)

3. Gain work experience

Once you complete your degree program, seek entry-level jobs to help you develop your skills and experience. These two components help you qualify for a trading analyst role. Many trade analyst jobs require candidates to have two to four years of relevant work experience, so look for job opportunities related to finance or trading. For instance, consider finding employment as an analyst team lead or a finance analyst.

4. Complete certifications

Depending on your specialization, you may want to pursue some certifications to advance your skill set and make you a more competitive candidate. For instance, if you majored in finance, consider getting a Chartered Financial Analyst certification from the CFA Institute. This is a globally recognized qualification that can help you perform your job more effectively and increase your career advancement opportunities.

Related: How to Become a CFA: A Step-by-Step Guide

5. Create an effective resume

Once you have the necessary educational and work experience, write a resume specifically for the trading analyst role to send with your application. Evaluate the job description of each position you apply to and customize your documents to each employer. One way to personalize your resume is to find keywords from the job posting. Adding these words can increase the chances of a company's applicant tracking system recognizes you as a potential candidate to shortlist.

Incorporate these keywords into your professional summary, work experience, and skills section to convey your suitability for the job. Be sure to proofread your document and format it so it's easy to read. Submitting a professional and well-formatted document can help increase your chances of receiving an invitation to interview.

Related: Resume Template FAQs and Their Answers (With 6 Tips)

6. Apply for a trade analyst role

Once you complete your resume, start applying for jobs. Consider contacting relevant people in your professional network to ask if they know about any trading analyst job opportunities. You can also look at the websites of the companies you want to work for to learn if they have any openings. Additionally, there are many online job search websites you can use by filtering the results with keywords to help you find opportunities that suit your interests and preferences.

Related: How to Write a Job Application E-Mail (With Templates and Tips)

Skills for the role

These analysts use a variety of skills to perform their jobs effectively. Here's a list of skills you can develop to help you advance in this role:

Trading methods

These analysts have well-developed skills in financial trading, since the focus of their job is offering advice on which trades to make. They use their skills, experience, and trading knowledge to conduct research and find lucrative opportunities. Their work involves strong analytical skills, quick thinking, and effective decision-making. These abilities help them use the information they find to advise their clients on the most profitable actions they can take.

Related: What Are Sales and Trading? (With Duties and Types)

Documentation techniques

Documentation skills ensure you effectively and accurately record data for assessment and storage. These skills include proficiency with spreadsheets and word-processing software. Effective documentation allows analysts to refer to earlier data and perform additional calculations. Accurate data also helps ensure the information they base their predictions on is current and free of errors.

Portfolio management

Portfolio management skills help analysts conduct effective assessments of their clients' portfolios. Managing portfolios involves creating assessment reports and identifying opportunities and risks. These skills also help when creating daily trading files or monitoring futures and currency derivative exposure for various funds.

Related: Guide to Project Portfolio Management (With Benefits)

Financial analysis

Knowledge of financial analysis helps people in this role assess their client's finances and the strength of their portfolios. These skills are relevant to supply effective advice on which stocks to buy and sell. Financial analysis also helps them recommend ways to improve their employer's or client's financial health.

Related: Financial Analysis and Planning Definition and Roles

Statistical knowledge

Knowledge of statistics helps these analysts assess data and perform complex calculations to make predictions and offer informed advice to maximize their client's returns. These skills also help when identifying patterns and trends in data. Strong math skills are the basis of this knowledge. It's beneficial to familiarize yourself with specialized statistical software, since it can perform several relevant calculations that make your work more efficient and easier.

Related: Parameter vs. Statistics (With Frequently Asked Questions)

Knowledge of programming languages

Knowledge and skills in programming languages can help you create customized algorithms for financial predictions. For instance, you might consider developing skills in R or Python. Programming knowledge can also help you develop trading models to help with data assessment and informed decision-making.

Related: What Is Financial Technology? (With Examples and Skills)


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