Star gazing, fortune telling and guessing are out – big data is in when the topic concerns the high tech sector for 2013.

A forecast of what’s happening in IT and trends in hiring highlight the North Carolina Technology Association’s annual meeting agenda Friday in Charlotte.

Michael Smith, vice president of research for the research and analysis firm Gartner, will provide his annual forecast for the IT sector.

What’s hot.

What’s not.

Where is money going to be spent.

Earlier this month, Gartner forecast a 4.2 percent increase in IT spending this year worldwide to $3.7 trillion. That’s up from a 3.8 percent forecast made in October. (However, much of the revised gain is based on expectations that foreign currencies will increase in value compared to the dollar.)

But for device makers such as Lenovo, the news was not as good.

Device spending is expected to total $666 billion, an increase of 6.3 percent from 2012. However the total is down from $706 billion as predicted in October.

The good news for buyers is that falling prices are helping shrink that device spending total.

More devices – especially tablets – at less expense.

IT services are expected to jump substantially, up 5.2 percent.

On the employment side, Tom Becker, vice president of recruiting for the workforce solutions, will talk about what’s happening in the job market.

Adding another viewpoint to the mix, Mike Manos, chief technology officer for AOL Services, is delivering the keynote speech.

The program begins Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the Hilton Charlotte City Center with a technology expo highlighting several NCTA members.

More than 400 people have already registered.