Friday, 13 January 2012

Should I Become a Chartered Market Technician?

Those looking to become professional traders or market analysts often ask questions related to education and professional credentials. Here’s one I received recently. What is your opinion of the CMT (Certified Market Technician) program the Market Technicians Association has? I just signed up for the program. I just started a new job as an equities trader, and I also have experience trading FX as well. I eventually want to become a technical analyst of some sort (equities and or FX), or a trader for a buy or sell side firm. First of all, I should state that my membership in the Market Technicians Association (MTA) was something which made me stand out from other candidates when I was interviewing for what would eventually become my first job out of college. It was the early 1990s and technical analysis was still somewhat looked down upon in many areas of the markets. To be a college student who was that informed on the subject as to be a member of the MTA was something very unusual. In fact, when a classmate of mine attended an MTA function at the NYSE during our senior year we were the talk of the event. Everyone wanted to see “the college guys”. It was quite the surprise. :-) These days, technical analysis is ubiquitous. It has worked its way into a much more well respected discipline – at least in most areas. Having an MTA membership on your resume as a college graduate wouldn’t be quite so unusual as it was in my time, though it probably would demonstrate one’s commitment to potential employers about as much as it has always done. As for the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) program (not “Certified” as the inquirer said), I have never taken part. I have worked with plenty of them over the years, but never really felt compelled to go through the program myself. Mostly, it was a feeling that I probably wasn’t going to get a whole lot out of it from an educational perspective because I had long done loads of study and research on technical methods already. The other side of it was that I didn’t really feel the need for it given my growing professional analyst experience. The jobs you’ve held (assuming you’ve done them well) will always weigh more heavily on an employer’s decision making process than a certification of some kind. Now, if you are someone new to technical analysis, the CMT program could be a very good way to develop your knowledge and skills. Experience with the methods and techniques will always be the deciding factor, but the program can provide the educational basis for that if you don’t have it already. One other comment. I would say that a CMT could be quite useful opening doors when trying to land an analyst position (though there aren’t actually that many employed technical analyst out there). I wouldn’t put as much stock in it for someone looking to trade. Analysts need to speak to a potentially wide array of technical views. Traders tend to be much more specialized in what they use. I’m not saying a CMT couldn’t help land an entry level trading job. I’m just saying that analysts would make a bit more use of what’s learned through the program. Now, I know at least a few readers of this blog have gone through the CMT program or are in the process of doing so. They are going to be much more up on the subject than I am, so hopefully they will contribute their thoughts to the discussion. If you like this post or find it informative, I encourage you to sign-up for the newsletter.

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