best route to becoming a trader in the city (london)


9 0
hey guys, i'm new to the forum and i'm gonna ask a question you've probably read a thousand times before but i need some semi urgent advice, so i'm gonna crack on.

All throughout my life people have always said i should be a trader in the city. Not sure they say this because i've got the gift of the gab, i'm confident or because of my charisma. That's not important. What's important is it's the only career i've ever been interested in.

So to the question:

I have no experience of working in the city and have no degree. which is the best/quickest route to take to become a trader?

A little about my background:

I'm 26, currently work as cabin crew for British Airways, although i not gay lol. Previous to this i worked as a croupier in several casinos round London for 4 yrs, so i am very strong in maths.

Although i have no degree i have 11 GCSE's (3 A's/6 B's/2 C's) including an A in maths. i also have a BTEC National Diploma in Sports Science.

I sold one of my flats 3 months ago so have got quite a bit of cash spare. I'm currently looking into doing a degree in Investment banking at City College, but need to enrol by the end of June.

Would doing a degree be worth it or should i try and get a job in the industry and work my way up? could i even get into the city without experience/degree? if the answer is degree, what degree would be the best to study with an aim to being a trader.

sorry for the length of this post and thanks in advance for any help.

peace bredrins


Senior member
2,331 223

Go to an arcade (a good one) and pay for their tuition - you can afford it. It's the quickest way to learn. Then work as a self-backed trader.



9 0
whats an arcade grant? sorry, i know i said i wanted to be a trader but before about 3 hrs ago i knew absolutely nothing. however, i started learning today and now know about spreadbetting (which sounds very interesting). i just read the basics, but it gave me a good understanding on the subject in general. next i'm going to learn about futures.

when you say self-backed trader do you mean working for myself as opposed to an investment bank?

excuse my ignorance.


5 0

Investment banks are quite snobby. You'll need to get your degree and hope that they take you on for an internship. You wont get any type of internship until you're going into your 3rd year.


Experienced member
1,223 277
By arcade I'd say he means a small prop trading firm that will let you pay to attend their training program, such as Schneider, and then trade using your own money to back your trades.

I'd say that there is little to no chance of you trading for an investment bank, they hire young (especially for traders), they are not hiring right now, City is not a target school, and even if it was your cahnces of actually being hired as a trader are extremely slim.

If you don't want to pay for training, you can spend the next couple of months reading all you can about trading and the markets, practicing on a demo and try to get yourself admitted by a prop trading firm on one of their (usually unpaid) training programmes.


9 0
thanks alot for the replies fellas. chocolate would it still be worth doing a degree anyway so i could get a job in banking and then try and cut across into trading?


Senior member
2,543 284
Do you know what a trading role involves? A lot of the traders at investment banks and funds have physics backgrounds. So it'd probably be a pretty good idea to get some A levels - Maths is essential and you need an A grade (anything less and they won't look at your application.) I know, i'm speaking from experience here on that topic. So you'll need 320 UCAS points minimum or ABB (to you and I.) Then you'll have to go to a good university and get a good degree (possibly in physics) then to make sure you can get a job you'll need a PhD in Physics. Then you'll have little difficulty in becoming a trader.

But is that worth it to you? I don't quite understand how it was a career you were always interested in, but didn't bother doing some research about it until 3 hours ago.


Experienced member
1,223 277
Masquerade, he's 26 - there is no way he has time to do all that.

dboy - again, even if you do get into an ibank chances of moving into trading are extremely slim, if you want to be a trader I would completely discount the ibank route - imo there is no way a bank will hire a 29 year old graduate from City over a 21 year old graduate from LSE/Imperial/Oxbridge except perhaps in a supporting role.


Senior member
2,543 284
Masquerade, he's 26 - there is no way he has time to do all that.

dboy - again, even if you do get into an ibank chances of moving into trading are extremely slim, if you want to be a trader I would completely discount the ibank route - imo there is no way a bank will hire a 29 year old graduate from City over a 21 year old graduate from LSE/Imperial/Oxbridge except perhaps in a supporting role.

I's kind of the point I was trying to get across the investment that would be required if he wanted to pursue his goals and whether he's really willing to do it, or if it's just a whim.

For PhD students it's different and they will hire people that are older than the "typical" graduate age.


Experienced member
1,223 277
That's true.

Basically your choices are:

- 7 years of uni and hopefully get into a ibank (master's ad phd courses are not cheap btw)
- 3 months at Schneider and trade your own account and (hopefully) not wipe it out in the process.


Established member
911 24
Let me think.......

First you have to decide which type of trader you want to be:
1. Flow traders
2. Proprietary traders
3. Sales traders

Second you need ask yourself which qualifications do I need ?
For prop trading you may not need any (just money for the account you will trade)... but for the other two you need to do your FSA exams.

Thirdly: To be attractive to an Investment Bank you need to be from an IVY college. In the UK those are Oxford and Cambridge or be lucky enough to land a job if you are in the top 10 UK Universities. The first two have a high possibility at least to land you an interview.

Fourthly: Age wise, is difficult for you but then again is possible. All you need is some luck and connections.

Now if I was u, I was going to try to make it in one of two universities but in the mean time trade some of my own money (small amounts to learn).

Finally reading some books like trading athlete, enhancing trader performance or trading in the zone will help to find out if you really have what it takes to be a trader.

Crap Buddist

Senior member
2,458 289
Be aware it's not all smoking fat cigars, driving ferraris and buying houses with your bonus. You get nothing for free in this game.


Sounds like a Jim Bowen fan on an off day. "Keep out of the black and in the red you dont get nothin in this game for 2 in a bed"

What pops up in my head is If someone want to work in a bank and they are late comers then .... I get a sense just from the red tape normaility of the selection process it seems the probability of success is slim less than 5% ? GUESSING.... but trying to sensify it (if there is such a word)

The prop shop route seems sensible alternative to some sort of guided "Normalised/formalised" trading tuition , but I dont know if the prop shops teach the same method of the props house, or if the recruits bring their own techniques to be tuned or something?

Failing that and living expenses allowing is the at home in a room for 2 years staring at 1 market and developing on your tod.

I see another choice if the poster had to pick one to give up..... working in a Bank or give up trading.

uni seems like a huge chunk of time just to try and get a foot in the door at a bank, prop shop sounds better BUT what will they expose you to? as that may not be in the best long term interests either??

Right well, ok, and you may hate it(db007),(trading) so Ive decided, research all the props, get some exposure for 6-12 months under their wings and see how it goes. That way you get exposed and trained? See what passion develops and you are not committed to a chunk of uni time.

just my take db007, all the best with it.... But if the bank badge is vital then your going to do what you have to do to make the CV pile ??

(ps, ive no clue /experience of props or banks but from the vibes you get on here from those going through selection at these gaffs then it seems its very tough and they have the pick of the bunch globally)

good luck....

but i'd say go The Prop Idol route... :D


Well-known member
358 48
Sounds like you are literally just begining to explore this world.. I would have this advice..

You are too late for the City... by 26 you should already have "at least" 2 - 3 years under your belt... even if you worked in Back office / or support etc for a bank.. I would say you might have a chance..

But seeing that you are "Green as grass" then you will be nearly 30 by the time you have any of the credentials.. then you wouldnt have the experience !!! by 30 most City traders are either out of the business (blown up / burned out) or they are moving quickly up the corporate pole..

I agree with most of the previous posts...that your future trading destiny lies in your own hands by self education or perhaps Arcading it for a while...
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