As a new trader the process to get started can be extremely overwhelming. There are many options out there for data providers, brokers, trading platforms and more. In today's article I will focus on the NinjaTrader Platform. There are some needed steps to get up and running. Just downloading NinjaTrader is not enough.
Let me explain a bit about the process. With any platform there are key components that you must have in order for it to produce data on your screen and place live trades.
The platform is the software used to display, edit, place trades and perform technical analysis on the financial market of your choice. Drawing tools, indicators, and strategies would be part of your trading platform (some come standard with the platform, while some are 3rd party addons). Having the platform is not going to allow you to view any financial market until you have it connected to a data stream (more below).
Next you must have your broker. This is who will execute buy or sell orders on your behalf to the exchange in return they will receive a commission for doing so. This is where the broker will benefit from you placing many trades.
Finally you will need data to display the financial information on your charts (line charts, bar charts & candlestick charts are most common). The broker will need the data stream to send and receive each of the trades on your behalf so they will generally provide you with the data source. However there are data sources that will provide you data without the broker but in which case you would not be able to place live orders.
Each platform does things a little differently. For example, some allow you to choose your own broker and data while some do not. There are benefits to both such as flexibility or convenience of having a one stop shop. Having a one stop shop is not favorable to many traders because they want the option to choose a different broker or data provider. Others may choose a platform that has it's own broker and data so they do not have to spend a lot of time trying to research brokers and data sources.
In the video below I will cover how to create a NinjaTrader data connection to help get you started: