NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Computer science careers are among today's more lucrative job paths, from their high starting salaries to their healthy mid-level salaries.

Having a college degree is key to a lift-off in this career space because the jobs require a substantial amount of knowledge. But when it comes to where you get that degree, some schools fare better than others in terms of eventual salaries their students land.

Some recognizable celebrities with computer science degrees include Netflix (NFLX) - Get Report founder Reed Hastings, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon and Yahoo! (YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer.

Here are the top 10 U.S. schools for earning a computer science degree that can land some of the more competitive computer science jobs, as ranked by PayScale, which reviewed the alumni salaries of 187 colleges.

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University of California - Santa Barbara

Early Career Pay: $71,700

Mid-Career Pay: $147,000

The University of California school system is top-notch for landing their students well paying jobs in computer science. The Santa Barbara campus is one of two on the top 10 list, with the school's Berkeley campus being the other.

Santa Barbara computer science students have gone on to enjoy not only lucrative careers at top companies, but have also launched some of their own, including AppFolio, a property management software company, and Eucalyptus Systems, a cloud software company acquired by HP (HPQ) - Get Report , to name just two of many of these successful startups. Former UC computer science professor Urs Holzle was Google's (GOOG) - Get Report (GOOGL) - Get Report eighth employee.

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Columbia University

Early Career Pay: $98,900

Mid-Career Pay: $145,000

Columbia University students may have a slightly higher mid-career salary average of $145,000 versus number-one ranked UC Santa Barbara, but its students tend to land a much more lucrative early career salary of about $98,900, according to Pay Scale.

Columbia's young professionals routinely earn recognition for their innovative use of technology to solve problems. The school's computer science students are among the first to experiment with mobile DNA sequencing device with seven of the devices available for hands-on work in Columbia's Ubiquitous Genomics class offered this fall.

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University of California -Berkeley

Early Career Pay: $96,400

Mid-Career Pay: $145,000

University of California Berkeley students are also among the top earners both in early career and mid-career salaries. The school boasts a range of notable alumni with a number of successful startups on their resumes.

Demand for this school's computer science program is rising. Last year, University of California Berkeley had 761 students in its undergraduate program, up from 482 students the year before. The school granted 218 computer science degrees versus 165 the year before.

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University of Delaware

Early Career Pay: $66,700

Mid-Career Pay: $143,000

University of Delaware's computer and information science students in the College of Engineering are likely to see their degree more than pay off, with the school's students earning an average of $143,000 by mid-career.

The university says demand for its students is increasing, with the school offering a variety of curriculums in computer science and bioinformatics and computational biology.

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California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly)- San Luis Obispo

Early Career Pay: $74,100

Mid-Career Pay: $137,000

California Polytechnic State University students in San Luis Obispo, including 550 students in computer science and 180 software engineering undergraduates, enjoy average mid-career salaries of $137,000.

CalPoly's department aims for small classes, with no more than 35 students per class. It prides itself on its strong student-faculty interactions on industry projects.

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Stanford University

Early Career Pay: $96,200

Mid-Career Pay: $137,000

Students in Stanford's computer science department, founded in 1965, are working on a wide array of innovative projects, including on topics like artificial intelligence and a recently launched program funded by a $25 million donation from Toyota.

Many technologies developed by students and faculty at Stanford have earned the school royalties of more than $5 million, putting them in the college's "Invention Hall of Fame."

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Early Career Pay: $95,100

Mid-Career Pay: $135,000

Massachusetts Institute of Technology electrical engineering and computer science students are engaged in numerous collaborative efforts in fostering technological advances in many fields, including health care.

MIT researchers are developing a computer system to monitor changes in Alzheimer's patients brains, using genetic and clinical data to predict the effects of disease on brain anatomy, to name a few.

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Northwestern University

Early Career Pay: $76,000

Mid-Career Pay: $135,000

Northwestern University's computer science students, drawing an average mid-career salary of $135,000, an choose from one of five specialties: artificial intelligence, interfaces, security, systems and theory.

Northwestern's students are heavily recruited by employers and its alumni have gone on to found start-up tech companies in health care and medicine and lead commercial space programs among many other accomplishments. The school has 24 major research center and partnerships with spending research topping $108 million last year.

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California State University - East Bay (CSUEB)

Early Career Pay: $65,000

Mid-Career Pay: $131,000

California State University's Mathematics and Computer Science Department has more than 1,000 students who go on to earn an average mid-career pay of $131,000.

A typical student will focus on scientific programming, language design and implementation or database design among other areas.

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University of Southern California (USC)

Early Career Pay: $69,900

Mid-Career Pay: $130,000

University of Southern California computer science students are part of a program that regularly garners attention for its innovative alumni, students and faculty.

Among the more recent accolades,

The L.A. Times

named USC Robotics Research Lab

co-director Maja Mataric

as one of the top 10 up-and-coming L.A. innovators to watch for.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor.