Get to know our Segment Leader: Risto Pajula, Head of Embedded Systems

Risto Pajula, who has been at Wapice for nearly 25 years, has grown from a trainee in embedded systems to the Head of the Technology segment. In his free time, he enjoys freeskiing, and you can also meet him on the tatami mat practicing brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Wapice's organization is divided into six different segments. Our segment leaders are long-time members of Wapice, and they are a crucial part of the company's success and growth. In our new blog series, you'll get to know the people behind Wapice's success – read more!

Hi Risto! Could you tell us about your segment?

Currently, there are about 60 experts working in my segment across different parts of Finland. We specialize in electronics design for various product development projects, such as designing various IoT devices and industrial control systems. Additionally, we do embedded software development, where I have the strongest background. Our segment includes people from various nationalities and diverse educational and career backgrounds, although most have studied closely related fields to hardware. We have students as well as senior-level professionals in our segment. The experts in our segment are highly skilled professionals in their respective areas.

How did you end up working at Wapice?

I initially studied computer science briefly at the University of Turku, but after my military service, I started my studies electronics and software engineering at the Vaasa University of Applied Sciences. In 2000, while I was working at my brother's fish farming company, our CEO, Pasi Tuominen, called me during tractor driving. My classmate was working at Wapice and had recommended me for a job there. He had dared to tell Pasi that I was a top-notch C programmer and should be hired.

I started working in August of the same year, and I was mentored by the then Head of AI, Analytics & Automation segment, Mickey Shroff. I immediately delved into programming microcontrollers, which was quite new to me, and there was a lot to learn. Since then, there have been challenges in just the right amount, and the work is still very interesting. Even today, I enjoy the challenges of embedded systems.

What has kept you at Wapice for so long, and how has your career evolved over the years?

I have always been given interesting and sufficiently challenging tasks. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to develop and influence my job description. Taking responsibility has always been natural for me - I first led projects, then teams, and now I have been leading the embedded systems segment for over 10 years. In 2003, I jokingly said that I could do other types of software. I haven't really had the chance to do much of it, but I am still greatly interested in all areas of information technology and programming, and in many projects, I have been able to develop my skills in other areas as well.

Risto at jiu-jitsu gym

What is your best memory at Wapice?

Solving technical problems is close to my heart. Incredibly elusive bugs have been hunted for weeks and even months. One problem was particularly challenging to solve as it only occurred in the production environment. To solve the problem, I wrote code for the device that dumps the contents of the RAM to the CAN bus in the CPU's exception handler, and a monitoring device can then save it. This way, we could find out the cause of the error and fix the bug in the code. There are many other good memories too. Various company events, after-work gatherings, sauna evenings, and the great people I have had the opportunity to meet over the years. All moments have been great, and golden memories have been created over the years.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

A typical workday involves organizing various tasks and meetings. I also try to do as much technical work as possible to maintain my competence, so my workday also includes writing solution proposals and brainstorming related to them. Sometimes I help and spar in finding solutions for projects or review implementations. Unfortunately, there isn't always enough time to do this as much as I would like. My week also includes job interviews and resource allocation. The greatest moments at work are when we can help customers with our technical expertise.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? What is important to you in life?

I have many things that I enjoy. I am a "do-it-yourself" person. If a ski suit tears, I study how to repair Gore-Tex fabric, and similarly, I repair my car myself. I enjoy learning skills and gathering knowledge because it is always rewarding to learn how something works. This applies equally to information technology as well as other technical fields. My biggest passions in hobbies are freeskiing and brazilian jiu-jitsu. I enjoy freeskiing in the Alps, and I have even tried their soft powder in Japan. I actively practice brazilian jiu-jitsu, and I hold a brown belt in the sport. I also compete actively and have won PM gold in grappling and European championship medals.