Parametric structural FEA (Finite Element Analysis) models of the orthogonal rib-stiffened thin walled cylindrical shells are established using APDL (ANSYS Parametric Design Language). An experiential optimization design method is then developed based on conclusions of series numerical analysis investigating the effects of parameters’ modification upon buckling loads and modes of the structure. The effects of single design parameter modification under both variational and fixed volume (mass) constraints upon the buckling loads and modes indicate that, only one design scheme is able to obtain maximum buckling load when deployment of the strengthening ribs and volume (mass) parameter were settled previously, and minimum mass would be obtained while this maximum buckling load equals to the required design load. Optimization calculations for aluminum alloy material and layered C/E (Carbon/Epoxy) composite material shells with three layering styles are implemented and discussed, and some useful conclusions are obtained. Method and approach developed in this paper provide certain reference value for the optimal design of such structures.