Forex, or foreign exchange, trading is a common way of investing money that is done with the help of different Trading Platforms out there. But it can also be a profitable career opportunity. All major aspects of the job will be discussed below — what specific jobs there are in the field, how to go about finding them, and what the work can be like.
Careers in forex trading
Five possible career paths are account manager, currency researcher, exchange operations manager, regulator, and software developer. Note that some of these positions have alternate names, which will be given in the headings.
Account manager (institutional or professional trader)
People who have been trading successfully in forex for quite a while may be able to follow this road. Professional traders make the buy and sell decisions for hedge and currency mutual funds that trade in forex, and may work for virtually any financial institution that does such trading, including banks and international corporations. Some are hired by individuals to make their trade decisions based on the goals and “risk tolerance” of each client. Account management is a high-stakes job that involves keeping track of large sums of money.
Currency researcher (currency strategist, forex market analyst)
The work of a currency researcher, who is employed by a forex brokerage firm, involves doing research to find out what trends, political and economic, impact the value of a currency. Other tasks that he or she performs include:
writing daily market seminars
- setting up seminars, including webinars, to acquaint clients, both actual and potential, with the basics of forex trading
- promoting the company for which he works by establishing an online presence for them
- The exchange operations manager (exchange operations or trade audit associate)
An exchange operations manager has the tasks of processing the accounts of new customers and their subsequent deposits, withdrawals, and transfers, following federal requirements for confirming their identities and providing customer service. The trade audit associate helps to resolve disputes that involve trade, while exchange operations managers, who have a considerably more responsible position, help to fund, execute, and settle forex transactions.
Regulators work in a variety of ways to detect and prevent forex fraud. They are hired by many organizations from many work backgrounds, including attorneys, management professionals, economists, auditors, and futures trading investigators. The organizations include the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the National Futures Association, and similar bodies in Great Britain, Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia. All regulators in the United States work in one of three cities — New York, Chicago, Washington, and Kansas City.
All companies need software developers, and forex is no exception; already much software for forex trading has made its way onto the shelves. If the software is not working as it should, then the brokerage firm faces difficulties with clients because of trades that cannot be carried out in time. As an example of forex trading software, VT Trader enables users to trade “directly off the forex charts,” organize and arrange those charts to suit their strategy and preferences, use tabs and free-floating charts, and create and share technical indicators.
Other career options
There are numerous other jobs in forex trading besides those just described, many of which require less skill, education, and training. Like all companies, those in forex hire accountants and human resources managers to work for them. Internships are also offered to undergraduates, and those who have general business experience might find work with a forex business as well. Then there are web developers, networks and systems administrators, and user experience designers.
Preparing for the field
The individual who wishes to pursue a career in foreign exchange trading should take as many courses in business, finance, and economics as possible, certainly in college but also maybe starting in high school. (Most high schools, including mine, require students to take a course in economics.) Since the job involves dealing in the currencies of other nations, knowledge of foreign languages is also useful; the student should take French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian and Chinese, and perhaps others among the official languages of the European Union (including Greek, Polish and Swedish).
The five positions described above each have their own educational requirements or preferences. To become a currency researcher, for instance, one should get a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, or some similar field, and have some experience as a forex trader. Good communication skills and knowledge of international economics and politics also put the candidate at an advantage. A trade audit associate needs to be able to help people “think on their feet” to solve problems. For the person who wants to become a regulator, a bachelor’s degree in accounting is the minimum requirement, and organizations that hire them to give preference to those with master’s degrees who have received the Certified Public Accountant designation. An aspiring software developer, of course, should get a bachelor’s in computer science or engineering. He should be conversant with various computer languages, operating systems, and other technical things.
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A typical workday
The forex market is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and the work tends to be fast-paced. As a result, there is no completely routine workday for the trader; each day on the job is quite unlike any other. If you enjoy the excitement of wondering what each new day will bring, then forex might be the career for you. But if you need to have a more or less fixed routine, then you had better look elsewhere for work.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, foreign exchange trading can be profitable enough as a way of investing your money and making much more out of it. But you may also decide, after some years of experience with such trading, that you want to make your livelihood out of it. And the knowledge that you have accumulated during that time may be enough to land you a well-paying job (for salaries see next section). The unpredictability of the forex market can also make the job exciting.
Forex trading is a good career choice for one who wants to earn a high salary. This amount, of course,