Careers in Trading

Article byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Careers in Trading

To start a career in trading, one is required to get the required degree from a reputed university, after which the person can build up his career by working in various organizations like insurance companies, asset management companies, private equity firms, mutual fund companies, and the other firms involved in providing the financial services.

Getting a degree in finance and accounts is just a beginning step. The next major step involves finding the right field in the finance sector for your career and exploring options that interest you and give you good financial stability. Often finance degree holders want to explore job opportunities in the field. Trading is a field that has many job avenues to venture into, and if the field of trading suits your interest, then you are at the right place. In this article, we will elaborate on the different types of careers in trading that a financial graduate can get.

To establish your career in trading, you need to understand what trading is, the nitty-gritty involved, and how it is done.

What is Trading on Wall Street?

Trade refers to buying and selling goods to gain money. Trading not only earns you money but also serves the purpose of providing services to various consumers. Trading plays an important role in the global economy by creating liquidity in the financial marketFinancial MarketThe term "financial market" refers to the marketplace where activities such as the creation and trading of various financial assets such as bonds, stocks, commodities, currencies, and derivatives take place. It provides a platform for sellers and buyers to interact and trade at a price determined by market more. Trading is the chief source of profits for investment banks, and it is also done by many other institutions like hedge fundsHedge FundsA hedge fund is an aggressively invested portfolio made through pooling of various investors and institutional investor’s fund. It supports various assets providing high returns in exchange for higher risk through multiple risk management and hedging more, commodities companies, etc. Trading, generally, uses scientific methods and extensive research to predict the future of the financial market.

Types of Trading

There are three major ways in which trading can be done:

#1 – Market Making

Market making is when a trader buys a product or asset from a buyer and then sells the product to a seller at high prices, thus making his profit in the deal. This gain in profit is called market making. To be a good market makerMarket MakerMarket makers are the financial institution and investment banks which ensures enough amount of liquidity in the market by maintaining enough trading volume in the market so that trading can be done without any more, you must observe the market closely and complete both sides of the deal before the asset price goes up or dips down.

#2 – Agency Trading

In agency trading, you perform trading for your client. An agency trader has a list of clients who contact him for buying assets at a specified amount, and the agency trader executes the request. Agency trading involves many restrictions as compared to other ways of trading.

#3 – Proprietary Trading

Proprietary tradingProprietary TradingProprietary trading refers to the process adopted by the commercial banks and financial institutions to earn profits by investing their funds in the financial instruments rather than making commission by trading on behalf of their more is the riskiest of all types of trading, but it is also the most profitable way of trading. Prop traders work according to the theories and assumptions about the working of the market and open positions according to it. If they are correct, they make a large amount of money; otherwise, they lose it. Most investment banks have dedicated desks for prop trading, and we even have many firms dedicated to propping trading.

Top 5 Types of Trading Careers

Careers in Trading

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#1 – Equities Trader

  • Here the traders trade on publicly listed stocks and shares.
  • Generally, traders look for large short-term gains, and Equities do not provide such opportunities.
  • This is the reason Equity Trading has lost much of its popularity.
  • However, please note that Equity Trading is the least risky of all trading areas.
Equity Trader Career
Equity Trader


#2 – Fixed Income Trader

Fixed Income Trading Career
Fixed Income Trader


#3 – Forex Trader

Forex Trading Career
  • Below is a snapshot of Forex Trading Job.
  • Forex Traders are responsible for executing FX transactions.
  • Their primary role includes monitoring Total Forex exposure, identifying hedging opportunities, short-term funding, rebalancing requirements, etc.
  • They are expected to stay most up-to-date with Macro trends.
Forex Trader


#4 – Commodities Trader

  • This includes Trading on Crude, Gold, Metals, etc.
  • These include almost every tangible natural asset like Oil, Copper, Gold, Wheat, Corn, etc.
  • Commodities are usually traded in futures (meaning you can exit before maturity).
Commodities Trader Career
  • Below is a snapshot of the Commodity Trading career profile.
  • Commodity traders are expected to keep abreast of the latest in the commodities market.
  • We should be able to track the commodities and form views on the commodity pricing forecasts.
Commodity Trader


#5 – Derivatives Trader

Derivatives Trader
Derivatives Trader


Careers in Trading – Pre-Requisites

To make a career in trading, the first and foremost step is to get a degree from a reputed university and, after that, pursue an internship at any commercial bank or hedge fund to get the nitty-gritty of the trade and have hands-on experience. Being a graduate is sufficient for getting a trading job, but with the growing competition, you will be a much-preferred candidate with financial degrees like CPA, CFACFAThe Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) Program offers a graduate-level curriculum and examination program designed to expand your working knowledge and practical skills related to investment decision-making. read more, and MBA. Since trading is all about math and statistics, candidates who have done postgraduate or doctorate in mathematical and statistical fields. In the USA, it is compulsory to clear Series 7 and Series 63 exams to be a stockbroker.

In any career in trading, one begins as an intern in any financial organization and then moves up to the level of an assistant trader and then subsequently to the position of a senior trader. It is observed that many experienced traders start their own companies after gaining considerable experience.

Where to Look for a Career in Trading?

Now that you have important information about a career in trading, the next question is where to look for a trading job. You can pursue your career as a trader by working with various organizations like investment banks, asset management companies, hedge funds, and other financial firms. As a trader at an investment or commercial bank, you focus on earning profits by providing liquidity for your clients. Whereas, as a trader working in an asset management companyAsset Management CompanyAn Asset Management Company (AMC) refers to a fund house, which pools money from various sources and invests the same in purchasing capital on behalf of their more, you need to search for the best prices of the financial tools which are part of your client’s portfolio. On the other hand, in a hedge fund, you will work as a proprietary trader and earn profits from the changing trends of the financial market.


The buy-side of a trading career involves working with various institutions like commercial banks, mutual fund companies, hedge fund companies, pension fund companies, and insurance companies, which tend to buy financial tools to serve the purpose of money managementMoney ManagementMoney management refers to the proper use of money, which includes creating a budget, understanding cash expenses and incomes, tracking the money spent, saving some income for investment and future use, eliminating unnecessary expenses, and keeping track of all items to understand cash spending and more.

A good buy-side analyst always invests in the financial tools that tend to meet his client’s expectations.

Under the categories of buy-side, there are many financial institutions one can choose from. For example:

You can work as a buy-side analyst at institutions like mutual fundsMutual FundsA mutual fund is a professionally managed investment product in which a pool of money from a group of investors is invested across assets such as equities, bonds, etcread more, private equity, and hedge funds, and asset management organizations. You can also work as a portfolio managerPortfolio ManagerA portfolio manager is a financial market expert who strategically designs investment more where you would buy and sell financial tools for your clients. You can also counsel senior traders on whether to buy or sell financial security or not who would perform the task. At buy-side firms, there are restrictions compared to other firms in the role of a trader, as you would mostly follow the orders of a portfolio manager. Still, you can also exercise control by making the important decision of the perfect time and the best price to buy a financial instrument. However, a career in trading at an asset management company can be less demanding and competitive than jobs at other institutions.


Sell-side usually involves working with institutions like investment banks, asset management companies, and hedge fund companies. A sell-side analyst is the one who prepares an equity research reportPrepares An Equity Research ReportAn equity research report is a document prepared by equity research analysts or financial brokers that focuses on a specific stock, industry, currency, commodity, or fixed-income instrument, as well as a geographic region or country. It includes recommendations on why to buy or sell that stock, as well as DCF modeling, relative valuations, and so more

to advise whether to buy, sell, or hold the financial tools and thus counsels the clients and investors.

Under the categories of sell-side, there are many financial institutions one can choose from. For example:

  • Investment Banking
  • Sell-side Research
  • Trading at banks


We have thoroughly explained the details of careers in Trading that you can get as a degree holder in any finance. If reading this has made you excited and motivated, then a trading career on Wall Street is the right choice for your career. Trading jobs exist at almost all financial companies in the industry, and you have to choose the best suitable role based on your potential. You need to research and talk to various people to find the right type of trading career for yourself and perform to get that job. Different careers in trading require different skills, and you should enter the field after considering the talent required. It would be best if you always looked forward to your long-term interest to retire in style with sufficient money in your bank account.

This has been a guide to careers in trading. Here we discuss the top 5 trading careers on Wall Street, including Equity Trader, Fixed Income Trader, Commodities Trader, Forex Trader, and Derivatives Trader. You may also learn more about Trading from the below articles –

Reader Interactions


  1. Skyler Cukor says

    Once again you came up with a great blog. Thanks a lot Sir for posting this blog. It was quiet useful to me. And I found it very interesting. Sir also if you can tell me what commodity trading is? and how does it works?

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Commodity trading is an investment strategy that includes the buying and selling of goods called commodities. Commodity usually starts when you buy a futures contract of any of the commodity being traded on the exchange. Here you don’t need to pay the entire amount of the commodity but you have to pay the fixed percent of the cost which is also called as Margin. Hope this little information will help you. Good luck!!

  2. Frank Meachum says

    Wow this was really a complete beginner’s guide especially it was helpful for me. I was also searching for the differences between investment and trading. How they are different from each other. Any case study related to this or if you could share the other article on investment and trading. Thanks in advance.

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