DIY: Tips to Learn SierraChart the Least Painful (Quickest) Way

If you are an advanced Sierra user, you can simply disregard the entire article.

I repeatedly get questions/comments like these: 

  • ‘How to Learn SierraChart?’ 
  • ‘It is so frustrating/counter intuitive/etc’. 
  • ‘It is written by programmers, for programmers, not casual people.’
  • ‘Learning SC requires to think in a programmer way.’
  • ‘Sierra’s team make everything unnecessarily complicated.’
  • ‘The documentation is too (intentionally) complicated to confuse traders.’

and so on…

Below I’m trying to give some advice – all based on my own experience that hopefully lead you to understand this platform better. 

These are my own experiences and steps that I took (and still take almost every day). These can help to shorten the learning curve of any application, not just SC.

Steps/Hints:

  • Pick a source (Chartbook/Tool) that you are going to use – same stuff you are already familiar with.
  • If you are coming from other apps (Ninja, MC, MD, TT, IRT, etc) then you probably have a clear idea of what you are going to use. If not, then read your previous app’s documentation thoroughly.
  • Pick the tool (study/indicator/setting) you are going to use and read its help page – It is usually available from within SierraChart by clicking the help when displaying a Study – Study Settings -> Help
  • Hint: If you are a coder, you can also find the code example provided by Sierra for all studies in \SierraChart\ACS_Source folder
  • Try to modify the study/chart settings and come up with different versions – just to see what the different settings do
  • Save your results in separate Chartbooks so you can refer back to them later.

So you now have some questions… Or just simply want to keep updated with the newly released SC features:

  • When you have a question, phrase it in a simple way and try to search the SC Support Board or Google, adding the keywords you are looking for. You can reach the SC support board here: https://www.sierrachart.com/SupportBoard.php
  • Periodically check the Support Board for new posts (I do it on a daily or max weekly basis) that are relevant to your tools and interest and subscribe to them so you can get notifications in email when any new comments are posted.
  • If you do not find an answer, post a question on the SC Board – the guys are always there to direct you to the relevant documentation or fix if that is what required.

Additional things to consider:

  • Completing/Following these steps can help to understand SC better – many users say it is counter-intuitive, but in my opinion it is quite intuitive and organized/developed in the same way as great apps/operating systems are built and documented – it simply requires a different way of thinking (DIY-style).
  • Within some weeks you can be the expert of your own selected field/topic – this surely takes time but then you will be able to adjust/customize everything for your needs and ask questions properly if you are looking for something. I always say that anybody can come up with the same tools settings that I use: 99% of my Chartbooks/tools can be replicated by anybody, simply by taking the necessary time to learn the software.
  • Be prepared that even though you spend significant amount of time learning the software, there will be completely new venues that you are not aware of – if that is the case then get back to the beginning of the article and start over

Some Hints While Using the SC Board:

  • Do not forget to NOT say thank you in a new post in the support board and more importantly follow the SC team’s guidelines while posting – they are  hard working, brilliant programmers, and monitoring nonsense or irrelevant ‘chit-chat’ posts will surely take their precious time: they are surely there to help but they have a well thought out routine/guidelines, so try to become familiar with that before you start blaming them for inappropriate communication. When you run into a ‘wall’ while asking for help, always assume that you are not aware of something.
  • Talking about ‘Big’ or ‘Important’ clients makes ZERO sense in SC terms – a big client is paying 2-300 USD per year that is less than 10 ticks on the 30yr US T-bonds – they have zero preference of high paying clients (this is a non-sense term in SC’s ‘internal dictionary’), but they prefer users (obviously) who understand and follow their guidelines.
  • Following guidelines, set by a service provider may sound controversial, but when you rely on somebody, it is better to take into consideration/try to understand what they do and how they work, to let them help you effectively.
  • Using SC is very much the same as using Linux – you can virtually do anything what you want, you just simply need to figure out the (one of the multiple available) correct way. Also if you are familiar with Linux, you probably heard about man… no explanation needed.

These things – getting familiar with a new tool – obviously takes time but if you are willing to take the time, you can make significant progress in days or max. weeks.

I run a relatively small group – and we frequently discuss SC related questions. But 99% of the time members are able to find their answers on their own, probably because they follow the same guidelines (consciously or unconsciously).

Wish you happy trading with SC!