The watershed moment is when that nerd finishes his engineering or computer science degree and get a 50k-100k job. Engineering is one of the few jobs that consistently have high entry salaries. Other areas that may have huge salaries, generally have really low paying or ultra high steess entry conditions, such as law, medicine or business administration.
As a result you have a slightly weird guy with mediocre fashion sense, not very high self esteem and a high paying job. They suddenly get catapulted to the top of the dating pool without actually realizing it. The reason why you see many nerds being married, is because any woman with a sense knows to put a ring on his finger before he realizes that he actually is at the top of the dating pool.
Back to the terrorist thing; conservative and religious; that seems odd. This does not hold up with my anecdotal experience. Most engineers are quite rational and that generally preclude believing in imaginary people in the sky. Also the conservative moniker does not really hold up; most doe not hold any profound political views; but they sure can get riled up about naming conventions or editor choice. What they generally are, is antisocial to some degree. Hating people in general and certain anointing groups in particular can lead a certain inclination to violence.