I know there are a lot of answers online already but still asking it to get different perspectives. It seems like without the right colleges or FAANG companies in resume, it's very hard to get even an interview in those companies.
No. I know of people who started the interview loop at Jane st before ever working at a FAANG and without a college degree.
Since the top firms can be smaller (a few hundred people) and you get paid handsomely, I do think there's some truth to the higher expectation of pedigree among the SWEs and quants at these companies.
What they're trying to capture here (imperfectly) is some degree of exceptionalism -- are you amazing at math or computing problems? If you can demonstrate your ability in some way that is not tied to pedigree (e.g. competitions or a strong referral), you still have a shot at these companies.