Is it me, or are software geeks generally more knowledgeable than others?

Bravo, bravo.

I work with some pretty brilliant people, for which I am thankful. However, the vast majority of programmers that I’ve known are not particularly sharp, especially when it comes to communication skills and English grammar.

As Small Clanger said, the best programmers do tend to have a broad knowledge base; however, the same can be said of many other fields. In addition, I believe that comparatively few programmers actually fall into that category.

Heck, I’ve given up on trying to convince CS grads that object-orientation involves more than just having private data and public functions! I don’t see any particular passion for learning on the part of most of these guys.

I might actually qualify as one of the people identified in the OP and I would have to say that I have no idea how anyone could make such a generalized statement about programmers–even good ones. I have been in many shops with outstanding programmers and I’ve never been in a shop where I was not the “resource” person for every topic outside programming. In fact, one of the few downsides I have found in my profession has been that I need to go find non-programmers to talk about any topics beyond sports and politics–and a lot of their political opinions have been taken from talk radio. Art? Religion? Literature? History? Architecture? Physics? Biology? Astronomy? Geology? Music? Language (aside from C++, COBOL, or Java feuds)? From programmers?

(I am quite sure that I am not the only broadly educated programmer on the planet, or even in Cleveland, but I find the notion that there is a general trend among programmers toward a universal education to be pretty humorous.)

My brother suffers from the opposite impression. He has, on several occasions, been accused of lying about what he really did for a living after entering a discussion on some wide range of topics, then mentioning that he is an engineer. In fact, there are (some) engineers who are, indeed, well read and well informed. I cannot think of any one career (outside some teaching careers) where well-rounded individuals are really clustered. I find that such people are scattered across all the various professions and trades.

All I know is most of the programmers I works with, and basically all of the electrical engineers say, “I knew that”, a lot. I’ve heard the term insecure-ego-maniacs to describe these people. But all in all, most of them are really pretty good folks, with a dose or strange foibles.