A little bit about me.
Basically, I wanted a better life so I started trading. I made a lot of money, then I lost it. I made a lot of money again, then I lost it again. I realized that the main thing preventing me from success was MYSELF. Mostly, my uncontrollable emotions. So I learned to program.
2015 – 2016
I went to college for electrical engineering technology and graduated in 2015 with a BA. It was there that I was introduced to programming, my first code being ladder logic for PLCs and then embedded C for microprocessors.
After graduation, I moved to Virginia and got a job in industrial automation. It was a small company, so I did everything from programming embedded controllers, plcs and integrating hardware with software.
Around the same time, I started trading Forex and was scammed in the first year.
Fast forward a year into my career and the rose colored glasses finally came off. Promises of making a fortune with my degree from professors and advisors fractured from low wages, a mountain of debt and no room for professional growth; reality was disappointing.
I had no problem working hard, but what was the point when I was only moving sideways instead of up? Money was an incentive; I won’t lie, but I was much more incentivized by gaining valuable skills and knowledge from my superiors. Unfortunately, my superiors didn’t have the time for me and I was expected to gain my knowledge from YouTube and Google.
I left my job at the end of 2016 and at the beginning of 2017 I packed all of my belongings into a single suitcase and moved to Utah.
A friend of mine offered me a room with an air mattress for free and support in my pursuits. We were both dreamers and engineers. So we knew we could build something together. I put my career on hold and headed into the unknown. Weighing the risk and rewards of my decision, I shifted gears and focused my energy into day trading Forex.
There was huge potential for financial freedom and with that I envisioned a world where I could create things unhindered. I had learned that money was not evil, but a lack of it prevented good people from doing great things. Money is just a tool. A knife is no more good, than it is evil. The greatest ideas could never come to fruition without financial backing, and if that backing was derived from outside sources then the idea was always at risk. Look at the rise and demise of Nikola Tesla, he was one of the greatest minds and engineers of the 20th century, he did not value financial freedom and his greatest creations were thwarted by the greed of his investors.
My time in Utah, resulted in massive growth, personally and financially.
I also made music, check out my soundcloud 😛
Sophomoric Forex Pro
I managed my personal account with low volatility and steady returns, with the goal of becoming a money manager. I worked the night shift and traded London and Asian open on a second account with 4 other admins in an online trading group of over 300 people. Having been actively trading for about 2 years now, my personal account had started taking shape and credibility.
I listed my account on an online platform known as Metatrader5 as a signal provider. This platform allowed anyone else with a Forex account to automatically take the same trades as me for a small subscriber fee. Soon after, I had more than 20 subscribers to my trading signals with over 250k AUM automatically following my trades.
I came from a relatively poor family, so the value of even a $1000 was a substantial amount to me. My personal account held around $2000 at the time and the group account I managed was $50k. Managing the money in that group account made my nerves tremble. Now that I knew I was now responsible for another $250k I became erratic.
It was too soon and too fast. My 20 something lower middle class psychology was not prepared for this amount of money and on top of that I was burnt out from working the graveyard shift and grinding 6 months straight. I cracked under the pressure and my performance drastically declined. My steady rise was met by a swift fall. I was lost in a swirl of emotions I couldn’t control. I blew my Forex account, lost all my subscribers (and probably a good amount of their money too) and even managed to make some bad trades with the group account. Two years of steady performance and credibility, gone. But this was only the beginning.
Back to the grind
After a bittersweet farewell to my friend I headed back to Virginia to pick up where I left off.
This time around I found it more difficult to find an engineering job. I now had an 8 month gap on my resume and nothing to show for it. I needed money and was getting sick of living off the goodwill of my friends and family. I felt like a loser. I was 26, living out of a suitcase and not by choice.
No money, no job, and surrounded by successful people that had no problem paying for me when I declined to go out because I couldn’t afford to. No matter how bad I felt though, I knew I would make it. I would always tell my rightly concerned friends and family, that I am a millionaire already, the money is just not in the bank. I had already gotten a taste of success and I knew I could do it again, but how would I control my emotions? I needed to discipline myself. Or maybe I could automate my strategy and not have to worry about stupid human psychology. I had already been toying with this idea in Utah, I built routines and checklists and put them in google forms that I filled out everyday. I built scripts in google sheets and I tried to teach myself Pine script and then MQL4. At the time I remember not knowing how the internet worked. So I had no idea how to properly code an application that I needed, let alone where to look.
After 3 months of constant job searching and a stint selling makeup on the streets, I eventually found another job with the help of a recruiter. This time the pay was much better and I was excited at the opportunity to work with more seasoned engineers so I could learn the skills I needed to become a professional. I was doing better now and a strange investment I made into cryptocurrency while I was in Utah was starting to explode.
My duties at work started off unrelated to my job description and I was told this was for training purposes. Well, another 3 months went by and 2018 was right around the corner. I was still “training” at my job, but it certainly was not engineer training. In fact, I wasn’t even in the engineering department and was scolded for even thinking I’d be working in that department. I soon came to find out that my superiors wanted me to be upper management and had no plans for me working in the engineering department. The company was shedding its older workforce and needed a new competent General Manager. Without telling me, they decided I was a good fit and were grooming me for this position. Now this was a great opportunity and it came with a huge pay grade. But I did not want to be a GM, I wanted to be an electrical engineer and I told them this repeatedly. They didn’t listen, but kept me guessing by moving me to different departments and positions within the company. I threatened to quit. They promoted me. Never to the original position that I was hired for though. Eventually, they moved me around to so many different positions in the company I think they ran out of ideas and made up a new one where I had ZERO responsibilities. I shit you not. It’s like they were just putting me aside until the current GM left. Well, I don’t know about you, but I got extremely bored very quickly. I found myself sleeping in my car half the day, then strolling around the company aimlessly looking for something, anything to do. I offered my help everywhere and I was actively seeking to be useful. I didn’t hide this from my employer either, but they didn’t seem to care. They must have figured anyone getting paid $60k a year for doing nothing should be happy. I was as miserable as I was useless.
I eventually found a colleague from the programming department who didn’t mind me shadowing him. I asked him if he could teach me programming and he recommended I read “Automate the boring stuff with Python”. For the next week I sat in my office reading that book from front to back. I finally began to grasp how programming actually worked. And the next week I wrote my first python program. The week after that I quit my job for good.
Now that might seem rash, but remember that crypto investment I made while I was Utah? Yea that $300 investment had ballooned into a VERY large sum of money. I didn’t need a useless job anymore that stifled my growth. I fell in love with programming and knew that was what I wanted to do. I figured I could learn better at home and get a job somewhere doing that. Besides, I was crypto rich. Or so I thought… Not soon after I quit my job, my unrealized gains deflated with the rest of the crypto market. I was lamborghini rich one day and the next day I was broke again. What a rush!
I had high hopes the market would come back again so I kept working on programming. I spent the rest of 2018 teaching myself python, data science and AI. I built automated trading bots and started selling my programming services online. I was dead set on getting a programming job, particularly in data science and I managed to get quite a few interviews with my resume. Fortunately, I never landed a job at any of these silicon valley look-alikes.
By the end of 2018 I felt like a loser again. No money. No job. And I let my health decline. I was depressed. I decided I needed a drastic change. A soul douche, if I may. I signed up for a volunteer program in exchange for food and shelter. The destination was Colombia, I would volunteer my programming skills and in exchange I could live and eat on an island resort.
As a Christmas present, my parents bought my plane ticket and my grandmother gave me $300 after hearing about how depressing my life had become. Unknowingly at the time, those small acts of charity are the reason I am here now, and I am forever grateful.
I only planned on staying in Colombia for a month, just so I could get my head straight. I planned on getting a little experience while on “vacation” and then I would continue applying for jobs when I got home.
Long story short. I met my wife on those islands and stayed in Colombia for 3 months. The cost of living is extremely cheap there compared to the USA, so that $300 went pretty far. I continued to work from my laptop applying for jobs at home, but on top of that I was applying for jobs online. Remote work I thought would be awesome, and I can do it now that I know how to program!
Realizing that I can work from anywhere in the world, I was inspired. But what company would hire a self taught programmer with no real world experience to work remotely? None obviously. But that didn’t stop me. I just needed experience, but more quickly I needed money. So I circled back to my freelancer accounts and started taking my online presence more seriously.
At first I would take any job, at any price. I needed reviews and I needed to build my experience. Then as I gathered a reputation, I started to charge more and become more selective. I was making money online. It wasn’t much. Not nearly enough to survive in America, but after understanding the power of the USD in countries like Colombia I realized I could survive in other countries. So I traveled and I worked from my laptop.
Eventually I found I had a niche in Pine Script programs, the language which I had hated the most. Apparently I wasn’t alone, because more people contacted me on Upwork for that than anything else. This is where I got the idea to build a course and as it turns out I’m actually quite fond of Pine Script now.
2020 and beyond
Today I continue to travel and work from my laptop. I still actively trade and have automated most of the manual labor. I never found a job and I am so grateful for that because I am my own boss now and I would have never known that this is possible without all my failures pushing me into this direction. My goal is to teach people how to free themselves using programming and financial education. I currently have two courses on Pine script and will continue to build until I have satisfied the knowledge gap. You can read more about my travels here.
I read your story, great story, and great experience.
thank you very much for sharing your experience and knowledge with others.
my background little bit similar to you, I have motivated by reading your article.
I am also realizing about Pine script has big demand from Upwork. There are many clients who ask me. Now I studying and enter to crypto trading.
I am also an Electrical engineer and experience with PLC and Python.
Meanwhile, I have been studied basic programming Pine Script,
I want to improve my skill to an advanced level (I realize this while watching your youtube video)
Please advise me if you have time.
anyway thank you very much share your knowledge,
All the best for your future.
Hello Upul, it sounds like you have a great education 😉
I’m currently unavailable for one on one tutoring, but if you take one of my courses you will get access to the community of students and myself. I spend a lot of time answering questions there and the other students are very helpful as well.
Hi Paul, very inspiring personal story you have lived for past years.
I’ve completed your pinescript programming from scratch and managed to convert a few ThinkorSwim Script over successfully to pinescript. I am also currently going through your other pinescript course on strategies, backtesting and forward testing course,
Wondering if you could help to advise what I am missing or doing wrong for 2 thinkorswim script conversion into pinescript as I was struggling to understand what is wrong with my pinescript.
If you are ok to helo to take a look, let me know and I can forward my pinescript attempt and original thinkorswim script for reference. Would be great if you can help to advise what is wrong with my pinescript.