Everything you've heard is true. Almost.
Tech companies are known for brightly colored walls, ball pits in the office, free food (organic and gluten-free, of course), and shuttles transporting you to and from work. They're engaged in a constant game of one-upmanship, the latest and greatest company taking what its predecessor does and morphing it into something even better.
With an obvious focus on technology, their engineering divisions are presumed to be filled with nerds who eat, sleep, and breathe code. Some started coding early in life and some not until much later—but nearly all are passionate about technology. It's not just a job to them; it's something they love.
Outside of engineering—and in fact most employees at tech companies are not coders—intelligence is still prized. The focus on academics is hotly debated; some companies value elite institutions, while others recognize that many of the most brilliant people never finished college. After all, the founders of many of these companies dropped out of college.
Landing a spot at these companies can be challenging for some people, but it's absolutely doable.
Job seekers who attended strong universities are fairly technical (even if they don't want to be programmers), have strong and demonstrable skills in their chosen profession, communicate well, have solid work experience, have a strong network, and can pull this all into a nice resume—they'll probably find it not terribly ...