I'm often asked at some point during the interview process to compare myself to my peers. For example, one of my first after-graduation jobs asked me to compare myself to my classmates. A job I recently interviewed for asked me to compare myself to my coworkers.
I always play this down quite a bit. I'm always worried that, "I'm miles above everyone around me," sounds too arrogant. When push comes to shove though it is the truth.
I graduated at the top of my class. I had a 3.99, the highest GPA of anyone else that year. My fellow students bitched and moaned about things like having to use the console to write "javac xxx.java" and build programs instead of just hitting the build button in VS. Most of them where utterly inept and I'd hate to see what happened to them in the real world. Others where miles above these people. There where like 3-5 of us that actually gave a damn, pursued our own education as if it mattered, and had whatever genes are necessary to think like a programmer or mathematician (the one guy I'd say was smarter than me was actually a math major--he graduated one year ahead of me or he would have taken my title). Even among these few "big hitters" I was one of, if not the best (some was due to more experience though).
For about 90% of the other students though I see this not as me being so good, but them being really that f'n bad. I was often dumbfounded not just by their ignorance, but by their unwillingness to do what it took to loose it. My peers in college where lazy, bemoaning, irresponsible, sacks of stupidity that would rather run around puking from so much booze than put out the least amount of effort in learning anything. Then they blamed their ineptitude on the professors.
As I entered the workforce I found that this trend continued. When I'm on the internet, talking to a worldwide populace of brilliant people I'm rather mediocre. I'm smart, excited, etc...I'm still very good but I'm much more able to see myself as a smaller fish in a larger ocean. Locally though, in personal real life experience....what I find easy others find hard even among what I'd call some of the best developers I've worked with. I know more about design, general development, and the specific language I use more than anyone else I know. Part of this is, I know full well, the kind of places I've learned in and where I've worked (who doesn't have the money to pay me what I'm worth). Still though, if I where to fairly compare myself to my coworkers, and in years past my co-students...don't I come off as more than a little arrogant?
Others see me this way too though. It actually took me a while to recognize that there's actually something significantly special about the way I approach my programming (I really care), work ethic, and additionally my lucky roll in the gene game. I have seen it get to my head from time to time, and I try to avoid it, but in all honesty I'm just better than most.
One thing that seems to differentiate me more than anything really is the fact that I continue to pursue greater knowledge at home, off hours. I'm one of the best because I want to be and it shows significantly. I've found that this is actually fairly rare in the real world, though many Internet people have me beat here as well.
Knowing that there's certainly many more people like this out there, in fact I know of many people on SE that are much smarter than I am, how do you approach this question? Do you answer honestly? "I'm a fucking God that has do dumb down everything thing they do for the little people! The only way I can drag the rest along is by saying everything 20 times in 5 different ways." Or do you downplay yourself to make sure you don't come off as someone so damn arrogant they can't work with others?
Edit: Yes, I make grammatical mistakes and additionally many more. I also suck at welding even though I tried very hard to get it. I also have a very hard time keeping my house plants alive. Some people are simply better at it. I'm simply better at programming.