We are Polar Squad

Sep 30 · 4 min read

This is the first part of the blog series “We are Polar Squad” where we introduce some people from our amazing company. The first in line is Tuomo. Let’s dive in!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I’m a 35-year-old Lego loving guerrilla fighter from Lapland. I moved south when I was about twenty to study computer science at the University of Helsinki. I live in Espoo with my beloved wife and two amazing little boys.

I consider myself a generalist who’s interested in almost everything. They say there can be theoretical use for practical philosophy but not even that for theoretical philosophy. I guess only time will tell. I believe good relationships and constant learning are the foundations of fulfilling life.

What was the path that led you into becoming a DevOps consultant for Polar Squad?

While working several years as a software developer in the security sector, I saw the benefits of doing things more “DevOps way” and fell in love. I also wanted to have a clear contrast to an offline environment, so cloud seemed a natural way to go next.

I felt that as a DevOps consultant I could see and do versatile things with technology while keeping people and interactions at the center of doing. One friend saw the spark in me and recommended PS for me and vice versa. I think from the first interview onward I was sold. These guys are really experienced and genuine.

What tools do you really like to use in your work?

I don’t have any specific favorite tools since I don’t want to become too attached to anything. Today’s bleeding edge will be tomorrow’s legacy. Anyway, I’d say Terraform and Git. The former giving the ability to create and destroy cloud resources like a god and the latter…well have you ever done development without version control? If yes, then I need not say more.

What sets Polar Squad apart from other companies you worked at?

People are really passionate about what they do. Everyone has this built-in attitude that it is totally okay to fail as long as one does his best. And let me tell you, many fails have been done, and many fails will be done. Let’s make that as safe as possible with the right tools and the right atmosphere. The company is still quite small, so the group dynamics are a bit different from the bigger enterprises. It feels more homely.

What kind of technical challenges do you meet at your work?

Technical challenges relate to preparing or avoiding the following scenarios: What if the rollback plan doesn’t work in production? What if data gets corrupted? What are the acceptable RTO and RPO?

Then there are less severe challenges in development like encountering a bug or some other failure that cannot be reproduced fast, easily or consistently. Also, messy code and the lack of proper documentation are always some sorts of challenge or annoyance at least.

How would you describe the culture in PS? How can you maintain a company-wide culture when most employees work in different clients? Would you like to give us detailed examples of what the culture is about in Polar Squad?

In short, mostly relaxed and funny at times. There are different kinds of people who still share our values and take personal responsibility regarding our culture. It needs nurturing and time from all of us. We have a custom that everyone comes to our own fruitful office to work on Fridays. We help each other across projects and share knowledge via talks. Anyone is free to give feedback, share ideas and start something new.

We spend so many hours from our lives working, so it’s hard to think anyone in Polar Squad would just want to work in a traditional sense, not to mention just exist. We do everything between sports events to dining and gaming to beer tasting.

Tell us about your day to day routines?

I value good night sleep above all else. Eating sensibly plus exercising regularly equals better sleep equals happier me. I wake up around six and seven, first handling a package delivery from a younger son (not going more into details). Then I get both boys ready for daycare while eating a bowl of porridge with a cup of coffee. I drive to work via daycare while listening to audiobooks.

I’m working with cloud migrations in a Finnish broadcasting company at the moment. Day to day work includes infrastructure creation, application dockerizing, small development with some custom solutions, research, testing, and the actual migration. The daily meeting is usually in the middle of the day. I don’t want to skip lunch since I enjoy good food and enlightening talks with people. When I’m back home and have some spare time, I either study or throw my brains through the window.

How does it feel to work with developer teams? Do we have a common ground?

As a developer myself, it feels natural. I believe that DevOps is a mindset that belongs to everyone. I don’t really care what is who’s title or specialty. What matters is that we try to solve problems together and have common respect towards one another. We all could take ourselves less seriously.

Any final thoughts before we wrap this up?

Mankind has achieved through history mostly because of collaboration. With technology and automation progressing ever-increasing speed, we have recognized our limits as a single person what comes to acquiring all the knowledge even within a limited field. We must work together and stay humble so that we can tackle all the challenges we are facing now and in the future.

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