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how to start learning as a sophomore

This summer, I set an ambitious goal for myself: develop a trading model in Python by summer's end. I took a dive into Python with the Data Scientist path on Dataquest.io (this increactive coding website). Although the course is inclined more towards data science, I feel more confident about my Python skills now.

Simultaneously, I started reading a book about quantitative trading: "The Evaluation and Optimization of Trading Strategies." In the middle of it however, I stopped reading it. It became too theoretical and I felt like I didn’t learn anything I could take action on. I realized I grasped a general overview of the algo trading process. However, I struggled to see the actionable steps that can guide someone like me who wants to invest in the same way. The book didn't feel as instructive as the fundamental investing books I've read, where the progression from concepts to action was more evident. Essentially I kinda understood the what but not the how.

From what I've gathered, the core steps in algo trading are:
Design a profitable strategy.
Backtest on historical data.
Optimize and test rigorously.
Implement the strategy once it's robust.

But the problem I have is do not know how to trade at all. From what i understand, you need to know how to trade profitably first before you can automate it. I'm familiar with the principles of fundamental investing, but I do not know how trading works.

So to learn how to algo trade, do I need to learn to trade first, and then the programming side of things after I know how to trade profitably?

Do you have any suggestions for books or courses, that can help a complete noob like me learn? I hope to leverage this knowledge not just for interviews but also to perhaps develop a project that can showcase my skills and passion for the field