I'm interested in investing some money in the stock market, and I have the math background that will make following the math used in quantitative finance possible (with some work). What are the resources necessary to apply quantitative finance methods (algorithmic analysis and portfolio management) toward making money in the stock market? Is this something that isn't profitable unless you have massive amounts of time/ huge databases of data/ ridiculously low latency bandwith / licenses or memberships to federal institutions? Or is it possible for a hobbyist to do the analysis and make money without these things.
I'm just starting to learn about all this, but I don't want to waste my time if it's not cost effective to do this.
As a continuation of this, what are some low cost data sources that have API's available to them (I've seen Yahoo finance has an API, does Google finance? MSN?).