This article is part of a series. Here are the other parts:
- Part 1: MT4 EA Forex Course: Intro (current)
- Part 2: MT4 EA Forex Course: our first forex expert advisor
- Part 3: MT4 EA Forex Course: Trailing Stops
- Part 4: MT4 EA Forex Course: buy and sell
- Part 5: MT4 EA Forex Course: ATR stops and position sizing
The best MetaTrader 4 (MT4) expert advisor development course you’ll find on the web!
What this course covers
- What is automated or algorithmic trading and why should I use it?
- How to use the MetaEditor and Expert Advisors
- Create your own Expert Advisor (EA)
- Backtest your EA to validate your idea
- Practical implementations for common scenarios, such as trailing stops, crossovers, dynamic position sizing, working with custom indicators and much more!
Why I’m doing the expert advisor course
Ever since I’ve been trading forex, I’ve been interested in automating my trades. It was something that made a lot of sense to me, having a software engineering background. Unfortunately, I discovered early on that the available documentation was very limited, not helping me actually deal with the real-world challenges that come with automating a trading strategy. This could be done better. I want to share with you how to build high-quality automated forex trading systems, enabling more people to become profitable forex traders. It took me a lot of trial-and-error to actually build something decent, but over the years I’ve built the expertise and experience to build reliable automated trading software and want to share this with you.
Introduction to automated forex trading
Now, what exactly is automated trading? Automated trading, or algorithmic trading, refers to automating a set of trading rules so that trades can be executed automatically without the intervention of a person. This automation is done using a computer program that runs continuously, monitoring the market and opening, closing and modifying trading orders. Automated trading goes back to the 1970s, but it’s only since the (recent-ish) increase of computing power that is available these days that auto trading has taken off. In fact, it is estimated that over 75% of all trading is done using some sort or automated trading system!
The benefits of automated trading are obvious:
- The automated trading software can monitor the markets 24/7 so it’s perfectly possible to enter that perfect trade while you are sleeping.
- You don’t need to continuously watch the charts so it’s perfect for people with less time available.
- With years of historical backtesting data available, you can test if your trading strategy is likely to be profitable or not.
- People have emotions, software does not. Believe it or not, but trader’s emotions can be a big influence in the success of a trader! It takes emotion out of the equation, so each and every trade is done in the same objective and quantifiable way.
Of course, there can be some downsides as well, with this being the biggest one: it is harder for software to “read the charts”. Reading the charts is a skill that is usually only acquired after 100s of hours watching charts. It’s about having just a glance at a chart and almost immediately knowing what the price might do. It’s about recognising that perfect price action pattern, in combination with multiple support and resistance levels. Since all of this needs to be “converted” to unambiguous trading rules, some things might be more challenging. But, as we’ll see later in the course, there are multiple ways of dealing with this as well.
Expert Advisors and MQL4
For retail forex traders, one of the most popular ways to automate your trading is by using MetaTrader‘s Expert Advisors (EAs) and a programming language called MQL4 (or MetaQuotes Language 4). It provides you with an easy to grasp, yet powerful language to write automated trading software and custom indicators.
One of the main advantages of MT4 expert advisors (as opposed to custom-built software using external APIs for market data) is the integrated environment that allows you to write a strategy, test, debug and optimise it using historical data and eventually let the expert advisor make trades automatically. The bulk of the work is done in the MetaEditor, the integrated development environment (or IDE) that comes with MetaTrader. As you’ll see, getting comfortable with this new environment and actually writing your first expert advisor will be easier than you think!
Ready to continue?
Go to part two of this course: MT4 EA Course: our first forex expert advisor