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Riitta Holappa

Meet Polar’s Research and Development Team: Riitta Holappa

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 Riitta Holappa, Polar’s Team Lead & Service Development QA Lead in Jyväskylä, Finland, about why she loves helping people’s fitness dreams to come true.

Hi Riitta! You joined Polar in August 2014 while you were studying. How did you find balancing Polar with your academic pursuits?

Yes, I was working on my Master’s thesis at the University of Jyväskylä in the Faculty of Information Technology when I joined Polar.

Things went quite smoothly. I knew that working and studying at the same time would not last long, and an interesting new job at Polar gave me the motivation to finish my studies.

What did you find appealing about Polar before you joined?

I was a Polar user before I joined, and the idea of being able to combine sports and computer science was appealing. 

I was a Polar user before I joined, and the idea of being able to combine sports and computer science was appealing.

It was also important to me that Polar is a Finnish company and has been a pioneer in heart rate monitoring. It has an important position in the sports world for enabling athletes to achieve great things.

What does your current role entail?

I am Quality Lead in our Service Development side and also work as a Product Owner in a Development team.

I am responsible for our service development quality assurance process and strategy, which partly ensures that our end users get excellent quality when using our devices in the Polar Flow ecosystem.

As a Product Owner, I am responsible for planning and prioritizing the work backlog of one development team. This role is one link in a chain, which ensures that we do what matters the most to our end users.

How has Polar grown both your career and you as a person?

Polar has been eager to listen to and carry out my wishes regarding my career direction. 

Polar has been eager to listen to and carry out my wishes regarding my career direction. 

I started as a front-end developer, and from there, I moved to test automation. I then moved from doing things to planning and taking care of processes of how to do things. 

Polar is a very supportive employer that helps people explore and fulfill the career paths they want. I feel appreciated in my work, and that enhances my overall wellbeing.

Why would you encourage someone to choose Polar as an employer?

Riitta Holappa

Polar has a very inspiring history and position. It is also a very independent company, as we do a considerable amount of work inside Polar – from ideas and research to algorithms for devices, the ecosystem, and a great user experience for our customers.

I have also enjoyed how Polar manages me as a person working for the company, not just an employee.

At Polar, you do something concrete you can touch, and we develop things that are unique. You also witness how something you have done enables an athletes’ dreams and also your friends and family’s healthier lifestyle goals to come true.

What are the best benefits at Polar?

At Polar, you are on the crest of a wave of interesting smart coaching capabilities that creates possibilities of a healthier life and outstanding achievements.

Polar has good common benefits such as lunch, health care, cultural and exercise benefits through ePassi

For me, the best benefit is to see where sports technology can reach and in what ways it evolves. At Polar, you are on the crest of a wave of interesting smart coaching capabilities that creates possibilities of a healthier life and outstanding achievements.

How do you balance life/work?

I prioritize the basic things: separate work and leisure time; spending time in nature and with friends and family; eating healthily and sleeping well. In addition to this, I try to do miscellaneous exercising and coaching Finnish baseball.

Which Polar device do you wear?

As part of our quality assurance process, many Polar employees do testing of upcoming devices.

Usually, the one that will be released to customers next! As part of our quality assurance process, many Polar employees do testing of upcoming devices.

However, I like many of our products and the variety of them. My first Polar device was Loop, and I have probably used every Polar device since.

What’s your go-to workout?

I have grown to like running a lot, so that is a sport I do the most at the moment. But I have a pretty long list of sports in my monthly diary: hiking, floorball, tennis, football, volleyball, strength training, and so on. Versatility is my thing.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Jyväskylä?

I like the lakes, verdant spaces, and sports opportunities. It is a small big city, which means it has quite a lot of things in it, but it does not take very long to go from position A to position B inside the city.

What’s one thing people should know about you?

My running index is currently 49.

Want to join Polar’s Research and Development team? Discover our current opportunities.

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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.

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Meet Polar’s Research and Development Team: Juha Koskiaho

We caught up with Polar's Scrum Master and Software Architect about how tracking his heart rate in his teens led to a career-changing opportunity.

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