Polat Kaya was born in the village of Yakinsu (Suhara) in Çildir, Kars, Turkiye in 1925. After successfully passing a scholarship competition, he studied Electrical Engineering in the U.S.A. He received a B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering (EE) in 1950 from the University of California in Berkeley and an M.Sc. degree in EE in 1951 from Moore School of Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
In 1952, he joined the Engineering Department of the Turkish PTT General Directorate in Ankara, Turkiye and worked in PTT until 1961. During the years 1961 to 1963, he worked with the SHAPE Technical Centre in The Hague, the Nederlands. In 1963, he joined Northern Electric Research and Development Laboratories, later renamed Bell-Northern Research (BNR) in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. After working 25 years as a Member of Scientific Staff in BNR, he retired in 1988.