I have a Masters degree in Computational Finance and Risk Management from the University of Washington (2013). The Masters program has many good points. But one disturbing feature was that the majority of my professors had never put real money in the market.
Study, analysis and simulation are important. But in the end, you’re absolutely right, Joe Robbins, you need to put money in the market. That is how you really learn.
There is nothing wrong with speculation, per se. For example, software that trades on market trends is speculative. There is no view of underlying value, just market movement and statistics. These techniques can be very profitable. However, it's important to realize what you’re doing. Trading a volatile instrument like cryptocurrencies can be problematic, even with good trading models. Given the nature of cryptocurrency exchanges you might not be able to make the necessary trade in the necessary time frame.