To be a successful systematic trader you need two skills (a) programming and (b) trading. Some systematic traders are programmers who learn how to trade while others are traders who learn how to program.
Personally I am the latter, and perhaps I have a bias, but I believe the latter is the more appropriate background.
That statement is based on two realities (a) to truly understand trading takes years of experience and costs lots of money in terms of personal losses. And (b) the technology available today has greatly reduced the programmer's barrier to entry.
As windows made the PC that much easier to interact, so do trading applications like MultiCharts, Ninja Trader and more.
The syntax or "arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language" is translated for us.
For example say we want our system to only do something on Monday.
Using C# we would write the following
if (today == DayOfWeek.Monday)
Using a program like Easy Language we would simply say
If DayOfWeek(Date) = 1
This page is not designed to be a class on programming. And I don't want you to believe that learning to program is simple. It is not.
But it's not impossible and thanks to retail friendly software applications it is realistic for most of us to learn to program a systematic trading system.