First and foremost, I'm not writing this post to be self-aggrandizing. I'm just stating the facts of the matter and that there is a relatively high barrier of entry on a time and knowledge level in order to trade stock options or futures.
1. Time - In order to be able to trade, one has to have the time available to trade. Most people who work regular hours are automatically at a severe disadvantage for attempting to trade in the markets.
2. Risk Capital - This kind of goes without saying, which is why I almost forgot to include it. Having capital to risk for one to play the odds in the stock market is a luxury not everyone has.
3. Adept with computers - So not only do you have to have the time, but you also need to be adept at how to use computers. Between basic system setup to ensure your PC is powerful enough and reliable enough to handle the rigors of your trading platform, then knowing the ins and outs of your trading platform requires a solid amount of computer knowledge.
4. Knowledge of the stock market - Then there comes the issue of an understanding of the stock market and understanding how things like trends, market caps, floats and interest rates all come together to affect the trading of a stock.
5. Knowledge of options - The derivative trade of options and futures are their own separate investment worlds. They have their own terminology and carry risk/reward profile where the reward can be exponential as opposed to the mostly linear reward of trading pure stocks. When it comes to options, a lot of the trading is not as intuitive as one would expect based on a knowledge purely of stocks.
However, if someone is willing to invest the time, effort and financial resources, option trading could be an extremely lucrative hobby/job.