MEET POLAR’S RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TEAM: JUHA KOSKIAHO
Since creating the world’s first heart rate monitor in 1977, innovation has been at the core of everything Polar does. Our in-house Research and Development team consists of experts from technology, physiology, and data science to keep our devices on the cutting edge regarding exercise, health, and athletic prowess.
We caught up with Juha Koskiaho, Polar’s Scrum Master and Software Architect in Tampere, Finland, about how tracking his heart rate in his teens led to a career-changing opportunity.
HI JUHA! YOU PREVIOUSLY WORKED IN MOBILE PHONE R&D. WHAT MADE YOU CHANGE DIRECTION?
“With Polar, I was finally able to try something new and I think taking that chance has improved my skills a lot.”
I spent 16 years working for Nokia and then a few years at Microsoft after they acquired Nokia’s mobile phone business. In 2016, Microsoft shut down the R&D unit in Tampere where I was working. After getting laid off, I realized that I wanted to try something different after such a long period in the same business.
I had previously thought about working at Polar but there wasn’t an office in my area. When their Tampere office opened in 2016, just as I was looking for a new job, I applied immediately. With Polar, I was finally able to try something new and I think taking that chance has improved my skills a lot.
WHAT DID YOU FIND APPEALING ABOUT POLAR BEFORE YOU JOINED?
I have a long history with Polar devices. I used to train long-distance running when I was younger and have regularly used a Polar heart rate sensor since the early 1990s.
“I used to train long-distance running when I was younger and have regularly used a Polar heart rate sensor since the early 1990s.”
WHAT DOES YOUR CURRENT ROLE ENTAIL?
I’m currently working as a Scrum Master and a Software Architect in a Web Development team.
As a Scrum Master, I’m responsible for making sure that my team members know what to do and can proceed with their work without interruptions.
As a Software Architect, I’m responsible for working with colleagues in other teams to figure out how any new features should be implemented in our software ecosystem so that things work well together and are maintainable.
HOW HAS POLAR GROWN BOTH YOUR CAREER AND YOU AS A PERSON?
“My manager probably saw something I didn’t and gave me a push in a new direction – and here I am, leading a team.”
Web development was quite a new area for me when I started at Polar, so I have learned a lot of technical skills.
Also, when I first started, I didn’t really think I was going to lead a team anytime soon. My manager probably saw something I didn’t and gave me a push in a new direction – and here I am, leading a team. This opportunity has taught me plenty of new skills related to project management and leadership.
WHY WOULD YOU ENCOURAGE SOMEONE TO CHOOSE POLAR AS AN EMPLOYER?
We have our own products that are developed and improved with a long-term plan, flexible working environment, and good team spirit. There are plenty of opportunities to do different types of things.
WHAT ARE THE BEST BENEFITS AT POLAR?
Flexible working hours and having access to the latest devices for testing and use.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE LIFE/WORK?
I can do remote work whenever I need to be at home on workdays and I use the flexible working hours when I need.
I find my family and hobbies are a great way of taking my mind off work.
WHICH POLAR DEVICE DO YOU WEAR?
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO SPORT?
Nowadays, I’m not the most active person, but I do play some golf during the summers, some downhill skiing during winters. I also do a bit of walking and gym every now and then when I have the motivation.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT LIVING IN TAMPERE?
For me, Tampere is the right size. Big enough to have lots of options for things to do, but still small enough to keep distances relatively small and traffic reasonable.
“I’ve been told I have the worst “dad jokes” out there.”
WHAT’S ONE THING PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I’ve been told I have the worst “dad jokes” out there.
Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.